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ICC Note:
Known as the North Korea of Africa, Eritrea continues to commit gross violations of human rights and religious freedom. Having instituted an extensive system of arbitrary detention wherein victims receive neither a trial nor an official sentence, Eritrea is now to be known as “a giant prison.” Based on conservative estimates, more than 3,000 Christians are suspected of currently being held in “unimaginably atrocious conditions,” in Eritrean desert prisons. Forced to either face possible detention for the practicing of their faith, or attempt to flee the country, an act punishable by detention or death if caught, many Eritrean Christians risk everything to escape. Many, in attempting to do so, pay to be smuggled out of the country, but are instead sold to human traffickers who then hold escapees for ransom in Sinai province. If unable to pay the ransom for their freedom, traffickers will then harvest escapees’ organs for sale on East African black markets, often times leaving countless defiled corpses in their wake.
06/20/2013 Eritrea (WorthyNews) – Human Rights Watch described it as “a giant prison” and Reporters without Borders called it “the most repressive nation on earth”.
It’s Eritrea, an independent state in Africa whose president, Isaias Afewerki, was described in a 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable as an “unhinged dictator”.
Physically, Eritrea is bounded by the Red Sea on the east, by Djibouti on the southeast, by Ethiopia on the south and west and Sudan on the north and northwest. Spiritually, Eritrea’s diverse population is almost evenly divided between Christians and Muslims, and though President Afewerki’s own faith is disputed, some say his real religion is Marxism.
What’s not disputed is that Afewerki’s regime has a “built-in hostility to all religion,” according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
“It began in the 1990s by persecuting Jehovah Witnesses and Muslims before initiating a brutal crackdown on Christianity that has continued since May 2002 when it outlawed all but three denominations. Up to 3,000 Christians are thought to be imprisoned in Eritrea without charge or trial, including members of permitted denominations.”
In addition to Christians, thousands of political prisoners are being held by Eritrea in “unimaginably atrocious conditions,” yet not one has ever been charged with committing a crime, according to Amnesty International.
Prisoners in Eritrea receive little in the way of food, water or medical treatment; they can be locked-up in underground cells, or inside metal shipping containers that are left out in the desert heat. Some prisoners are left for days in “the helicopter position,” i.e., lying face down with their hands and feet bound together.

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