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Eritrea Arrests 7 Christians for Praying Together

Washington, D.C. (February 23, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on February 18 at 4 PM local time, Eritrean security officials arrested seven Christians for praying at a private home in Asmara, the capital city.

Nagassi, Dawit, Nahum, Ghebreab, Alem, Eden and Rigbe were gathered to private prayer at a home near Babylon Square when the security officials suddenly rounded them up and took them to an unknown location.

Eritrean government officials have been clamping down on Christians since 2002. The government only recognizes three Christian denominations, namely: the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church . Members of other religious denominations are not allowed to hold prayer meetings and exercise other aspects of their religious beliefs.


The authorities have imprisoned more than 3,000 Christians for exercising their religious freedom. The imprisoned Christians are kept under inhumane conditions in underground dungeons, metal shipping containers, and military barracks. Several Christians have died inside prisons due to torture and lack of medical attention.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and South Asia , Jonathan Racho said “We condemn this latest arrest by Eritrean officials. We call upon Eritrea to release the seven Christians as well as the 3,000 Christians who are imprisoned under inhumane conditions. We ask Eritrea to ensure freedom of religion of its citizens in accordance with their international obligation under the Charter of United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 18 of the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights obliges Eritrea to guarantee to everyone the right to ‘ either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.’

Please pray for the safety of the seven Christians and their release from prison. Also, pray for the release of all the imprisoned Christians in the country.