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Eritrean Authorities Conduct A Dawn Raid Arresting at least 20 Christians and a Pastor, With Complex Medical Needs.

ICC Note

Eritrean authorities have continued detaining more Christians though close to two thousand Christians have already been incarcerated simply because of their faith.

June 5, 2007 Eritrea (Release Eritrea) Eritrean security forces raided a residential home in metsalo a Suburb in Dekemhare, a town 40 km south of Asmara, and arrested several residents, including young children, on Sunday the 27th of May. Reports indicate that security forces arrived in the early hours, expecting to disrupt a prayer meeting, however when it was clear that there was no such event taking place they arrested members of the two families in the targeted house and many more in the neighbourhood. During the raid the videotapes, which contained recordings of a wedding conducted by Pastor Michael Abraha, were confiscated.

Pastor Abraha who was not present at the time and a newly wed couple were later arrested remain incarcerated a week after the event. The pastor and all those arrested are members of the Kale Hiwet Church , which is among the churches that were closed by government decree five years ago, this month.

Many of the detainees are said to be held in Adi Abeyto prison, and some in the 5th police station in Asmara . There is grave concern for the health of Pastor Michael Abraha who suffers from a severe form of hypo glycaemia, particularly in the light of the acute shortage of food and medical care in those prisons.

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Dr Berhane Asmelash Director of Release Eritrea stated that; ‘my concern isn’t just for those who are detained following organised prayer meetings now, these people seem to have been dragged out of their beds and taken into custody along with their children, the government of Eritrea needs to understand that no one can stop those who want to pray. And there really is no justification for this type of harassment’

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