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Another Christian dies in Eritrean jail

26 February, 2007 (MNN) — The story of Magos Solomon Semere (MAH-gohs solomon se-MEH-ray) is at an end. Four-and-a-half years after the Eritrean regime jailed him for worshiping in a banned Protestant church, Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Bernie Daniel confirms his death while still in jail. “He was a young Eritrean Christian, aged 30, and died in a military jail in the southern part of Assab. He was sick with pneumonia, and I can assure you that he was being brutally treated by the military authorities in that southern most part of Eritrea .”

Semere was barred from seeing his fiancé during his prison sentence and was repeatedly offered medical treatment or release if recanted his faith. However, his former fellow prisoner said that throughout everything, “Magos was determined to obey the Lord rather than men.”

More than 2,000 Eritrean citizens have been jailed solely for practicing their faith. Semere is the third known Christian to die for his faith in Eritrea since last October. “I would be cautious to put it as escalation because it came kind of in a time frame distance, but still, it just shows the brutal treatment of Christians still being perpetuated by local officials in the military jails. We have to still continue to pray for the body of Christ in Eritrea .”

According to Compass Direct, for the past 18 months, President Isaias Afwerki’s regime has extended its religious repression to interfere openly in the internal affairs of the Eritrean Orthodox Church. The government recently deposed its patriarch and took over the church’s administrative and financial controls.