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Wikileaks Exposes Torture of Christians in Eritrea
Eritrean Security Officials “regularly tortured prisoners”

Washington, D.C. (January 20, 2011)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a US embassy cable recently published by Wikileaks exposes the deplorable conditions of detained Christians and other prisoners in Eritrea. There are currently more than 3,000 Christians imprisoned in Eritrea for practicing their faith.

The leaked document confirms years of ICC reports about the inhumane conditions of prisoners in Eritrea. “Prisoners were fed two pieces of bread three times a day. A bucket in the middle of the room served as a toilet between escorted bathroom breaks, but it constantly spilled and contaminated the room with urine and feces. Many prisoners could not talk due to the lack of water, their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouth from thirst,” a former prisoner told the United States embassy officials in Eritrea, according to the Wikileaks report.

He and another 600 prisoners were kept in a 40 by 38 foot cell. “It was not possible to lie down and barely possible to sit,” he said. His cellmates were “Eritreans who tried to flee the country, military deserters, common criminals, and Protestants (presumably of unregistered denominations).”

The prisoner said he heard “the screams of people being tortured” and saw Eritrean security officials “bringing back badly bruised and bleeding detainees to the holding room.” He witnessed Eritrean security officials “beating a man with a rubber hose on his bare feet.” In another instance, he observed “a man sitting with his arms tied and raised behind his back. His feet were tied together and a wooden pole was placed beneath his knees.”

Click here for the full Wikileaks report on the prisoners.

Many of the imprisoned Christians are members of evangelical churches. Most of them are kept in underground dungeons, metal shipping containers and military barracks. Several have died in prison due to the torture and inhumane conditions.

“The Wikileaks report sheds light on the plight of prisoners in Eritrea. It’s unconscionable for Eritrea to mistreat its own citizens in such horrible ways for peacefully exercising their religious freedom. We urge Eritrea to end such inhumane acts,” said Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa.

Please pray for the prisoners. Please contact the officials of Eritrea in your countries and politely ask them to release the prisoners.

Eritrean Embassies: United States: (202) 319-1991 UK: 020 77130096 Germany: (+49-30) 4467460 Australia: (+61) 2 62901991 / 3