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ICC Note:

Conservative estimates report more than 1,000 Christians remain imprisoned in Eritrea, otherwise known as the “North Korea of Africa” and the “Great Prison.” Following a national law imposed in 2002 by the East African nation’s President, Isaias Afwerki, requiring all religious entities register with the state, Christians and other religious practitioners have been regularly arrested and arbitrarily detained by security forces for holding “illegal gatherings.” This of course as only five religious entities were allowed to register under the 2002 law, which now compose the state’s five recognized religious orders. Torturous conditions continue to be reported by former and escaped detainees, including subjection to extreme temperature changes, inadequate food and water provision, and sever beatings by security staff. Often held incognito without charge or trial, many imprisoned Christians are forced to recant their faith and are severely punished if caught with Christian literature, including Bibles.

05/29/2014 Eritrea (Christian Today) – As the state of Eritrea celebrated its 21st birthday on May 24, the country’s Independence Day, more than 1000 Christians are reported to continue to be held in detention.

According to Release Eritrea, persecution of Christians from ‘unregistered churches’ continues despite the country officially being called a secular that allows all its citizens to freely practice faith.

Underground churches have said that over 1000 Christians are imprisoned for periods ranging from a few months to over 10 years.

“Our church leaders who were taken to prison in 2003 to 2004 have been detained for over 10 years now,” an underground church leader revealed, according to Asmarino. “Many continue to suffer health problems, although we praise God when we hear reports of their resolute faith and good spirit.”

“We trust God to safeguard them, but times are tough for their families, their elderly parents are dying and the young children they left behind are now coming of age fatherless” he continued.

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