Eritrean Christian Describes 13 years in Prison for Faith

ICC Note

A man named Shiden* told his story of faith and imprisonment in Eritrea due to the high persecution there. He related how he was forced into military service for years. Then when they found out that he was a Christian, he was thrown into prison for 13 years. These prisons are either underground, where the prisoners are never allowed outside, or in shipping containers, where the heat of the day and cold of night make living nearly unbearable. Even after Shiden was released, he has not been able to work or get education. He has struggled due to the lack of religious freedom in the country. 

01/16/2018 Eritrea (WorldWatchMonitor) Shiden* was young and full of optimism for the future when he was imprisoned for his Christian faith. For the next 13 years he was exposed to torture of different kinds, including months in a very small cell in solitary confinement, and even his eventual release failed to bring about the future he had hoped for.

Now, Shiden hardly sleeps. Since his release from prison, he spends most nights fighting the despondency that covers him like a blanket.

Shiden became a Christian when he was in his late teens. His older brother John* had become a Christian earlier and was chased out of the house when their father found out. John was never allowed to return until their father died, but after he moved back home again, Shiden also became a Christian.

He knew it was a dangerous decision. Eritrea’s society is deeply suspicious and antagonistic towards evangelical Christians and the government imprisons those who belong to religious groups outside the three mainline churches or Sunni Islam. Shiden had heard the stories of the terrible suffering of Christians in prison but he decided the risks were worth taking. 


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