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ICC Note: Eritrea is one of the world’s worst most hostile environments to Christians. All Christian churches that are not officially sanctioned by the government are banned and their leaders have been under arrest since 2002. Those groups that are sanctioned by the government operate under severe restriction and also suffer from persecution. The Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church disappeared in 2005, and there is still no explanation for his disappearance or clue to his whereabouts. It is believed that more than 2,000 Christians are currently imprisoned for their faith, with many more attempting to flee the country on an ongoing basis.
10/26/2013 Eritrea (Asmarino Independent) – Release Eritrea, a UK based charity, has learnt that Eritrean security forces, raided a prayer meeting and arrested 150 Christians found praying together in Maitemenai, a suburb to the north of Asmara. It is thought that the believers had gathered to pray about the escalating refugee crisis and the trouble in the country that has been of concern to many Eritreans in recent days.
The gathering is said to have been under the auspices of an underground fellowship known locally as ‘Hiyaw Amlak’ (Living God). The fellowship is part of a wide network of underground fellowships that have been in operation throughout the country since 2002, when the Eritrean government shut all churches not belonging to the officially sanctioned religious groups.
Although no details of the whereabouts of all the prisoners have been disclosed officially, friends and families of the detained believe at least some of them are held at the 4th Police Station near an area known as Edaga Hamus in the adjoining district, from where the raid and arrests occurred.