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ICC NOTE: Please pray for this courageous woman, who like thousands of others in Eritrea is being imprisoned for following Christ. Pray for that they would receive international attention on a greater level.

Still in Solidarity

19 May 2006


The album of a gospel singer, imprisoned in Eritrea is to be promoted in the UK this weekend at a special event to focus on the human rights situation in her home country. 31-year-old Helen Berhane is a member of Eritrea ‘s Rhema Church , and was incarcerated in May 2004. At the time, she had just released album of gospel music popular among young Eritrean Christians. She is reported to have been held for some time in a shipping container at the Mai-Serwamilitary camp, and to have refused to sign a paper recanting her faith and promising not to participate in Protestant activities.

Ms. Berhane is one of over 1700 members of banned evangelical churches in Eritrea who have been detained without charge or trial on account of their religious affiliations. According to sources, her faith remains strong in spite of her current tribulations. During the month of May, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and ReleaseEritrea are planning a series of events in London to highlight the persecution of Christians in Eritrea .

On 31 May a peaceful demonstration will take place outside the Eritrean Embassy in White Lion Street North London . In addition, CSW and ReleaseEritrea have requested that churches and Christians worldwide remember Eritrea in prayer, either in their homes or during services, on 21 May. Dr Berhane Asmelash of Release Eritrea said: “Helen has been inspirational in her commitment to her faith. It is a privilege to be able to stand in solidarity with her at this very difficult time. Her steadfast faith is emblemic of the courage with which the Eritrean Church is facing up to the persecution that continues unabated.” Helen Berhane is one of nearly two thousand Eritrean Christians who are currently incarcerated without charge or trial, and maintain unswerving faith, often in the face of severe mistreatment. They are an inspiration to us all.

The silence of the international community on these crucial issues must come to an end” George Luke of UCB said: “I think it’s very important that Christians living in the West – where it’s less dangerous to make a stand for your faith, or to sing and play Gospel music – should always keep in mind fellow Christians for whom life isn’t so easy. Playing ‘world music’ on the radio gives me an ideal platform to air those stories from the persecuted church, so I’m happy to give my support to Helen and her music – and to other Eritrean Christians in the same position.”