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ICC Note:
Eritrea continues to be one of the world’s most isolated countries. Ruled by a ruthless communist regime, most aspects of Eritrea’s society are monitored by the government. This especially includes religion. Although Eritrea recognizes several denominations of Christianity, the churches under those denominations are highly regulated by the government. Christians caught worshiping outside of these regulated churches are imprisoned and sometimes executed. Yosief Kebedom Gelai died in prison on July 5. He was one of an estimated 2,000 Christians who currently are imprisoned for their faith in Eritrea. Please remember these persecuted Christian in your prayers.  
7/17/2013 Eritrea (Mission Network News) – Open Doors USA recently learned about the death of another Christian in an Eritrean prison.
Yosief Kebedom Gelai, a recently converted single Christian, died in Medefera July 5.
Sources told Open Doors that Yosief, 41, had been sick for a long time, but that the harsh treatment at a secret Medefera incarceration center aggravated the effects of the unknown disease.
Eritrea ranks #10 on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries with the worst persecution of believers. Yosief is the 24th reported death connected to punishment for religious activities outside of the government-sanctioned Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church, and Islam.
However, because of the government’s secrecy surrounding prisoners and denied access to watchdog organizations, there may be many more deaths and burials that have not been reported.
Yosief was originally from Asmara. He went to Mendefera to teach at a primary school some time prior to his arrest. Six months after his arrival, Yosief came to faith in Christ. His devotion to Bible study and prayer caught the attention of representatives of the ruling Eritrean People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (EPRDF) at the school.
Authorities arrested him in December and took him to the secret incarceration center in Mendefera where he was kept incommunicado. Sources told Open Doors the center holds many other religious prisoners whose whereabouts were previously unknown to family members and churches.

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