Eritrean Church leader to visit Ireland

Dr. Berhane Asmelash (a respected church leader from Eritrea in the Horn of Africa) will be visiting Ireland later this month. He will be speaking at meetings in Dublin and Westport about the persecution of Christians in Eritrea – where over 400 Christians are currently imprisoned in dreadful conditions.

Dr. Asmelash’s visit to Ireland is being sponsored by CHRISTIAN CONCERN FOR FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE (CCFC). CCFC has been involved in an international campaign protesting about the arbitary arrest, imprisonment and torture of Christians in Eritrea.

ERITREA: 91 Christian prisoners released

91 Christian prisoners were released on 6 August, the day after a worldwide day of prayer organised by a coalition of Eritrean Christians.

The Christians were amongst 250-300 guests arrested at a wedding in Asmara on Saturday 28 May 2005. They were initially detained at Asmara’s 5th Police station, and were subsequently transferred to Adi Abeito military prison.

ERITREA: Day of Prayer for Christian Prisoners

A Coalition of Eritrean Christians has called for the worldwide Christian community to join them in a day of prayer and fasting on Friday 5 August – to remember the estimated 500+ Christian prisoners in Eritrea.

The ‘Day of Christian Prisoners’ is scheduled for Friday 5 August and has been organised by Erishalom.com, a website run by a coalition of Eritrean Christians, some of whom work underground in Eritrea, while others are part of the Diaspora.

ERITREA: Irish Christians join vigil at London Embassy

Around 90 people (including a group of Irish Christians) gathered yesterday at the Eritrean Embassy in London to highlight the continuing imprisonment of hundreds of Christians in that country. The vigil was jointly organised by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Release Eritrea and CCFC. A group from Amnesty International were also present.

ERITREA: Almost 900 Christians in prison

A new list (compiled by evangelical sources) details almost 900 Eritrean Christians known to be jailed in local prisons, military confinement camps and shipping containers for daring to meet secretly for prayer and worship outside government-sanctioned churches.

At least 144 of the jailed Christians are women including the singer, Helen Berhane (pictured left) who was arrested last May. It was previously thought that she had been released in January. She has been alternately held in a metal container or locked in solitary confinement in an underground cell as officials attempt to force her to renounce participation in banned Christian services.

ERITREA: Over 100 children arrested at Sunday School

On Saturday 19 February, police interrupted Christian instruction classes at the Medhane Alem Orthodox Church (pictured right) in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. They rounded up 131 children and teachers and took them to a nearby police station where they took down details of the children’s names and addresses.

ERITREA: Christians arrested at wedding

On Sunday 9 January, security police swooped down on a wedding ceremony being held in Barentu, a town in western Eritrea, arresting the 67 evangelical Christians present. Participants had been escorting the bride to the wedding venue when police intervened and took them all to prison, including the wedding couple.

ERITREA: Over 400 Christians now imprisoned

At least 400 members of evangelical churches in Eritrea are known to be imprisoned for their faith, including more than 70 soldiers held under severe conditions for over two years at the Assab Military Prison.

Amomg those imprisoned are Full Gospel Church pastors Rev. Haile Naizgi (pictured) and Dr. Kiflu Gebremeske, and Pastor Tesfatsion Hagos of the Rema Evangelical Church.

Teenage Christians jailed for having Bibles (Eritrea)

More than 60 teenage Eritrean students caught with Bibles at a compulsory military training camp were arrested and subjected to severe punishment earlier this month. Military commanders at the Sawa Military Training Camp ordered a search of students personal effects.