Christian Woman Dies in Eritrean Detention Center

January 18, 2011 by Open Doors in General


Weak from two weeks of torture and harsh treatment, Seble Hagos Mebrahtu, 27, died in the military training center in Sawa on January 1. According to reliable sources, Mebrahtu was apparently refused medical treatment for malaria and died soon after. It is not clear how long the young woman had been in prison but sourcess indicated that her arrest followed being caught reading her Bible in her bedroom.

Mebrahtu is the 16th reported death of a Christian serving time in one of Eritrea’s harsh detention facilities since a government crackdown launched in 2002 banned and criminalized dozens of churches outside of Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran and Islamic traditions. And, just in the past several weeks, the Eritrea governments’ campaign against Christians has escalated.

On the 31st of December , 41 members of the Philadelphia Church were arrested. Eyewitnesses reported that the Christians were taken to Police Station Number 1 where they endured beatings. Apart from a handful of members who happened to be out of town at the time of the arrest, the whole Philadelphia congregation in Asmara was taken in.

Then, on the 1st of January, 27 Evangelical believers who are members of various underground churches near Asmara were taken into custody by Eritrean Security; they are being held at Police Station Number 5. 

A trustworthy source reported that another 35 Evangelical believers were arrested on January 9 in the town of Nakfa. Those arrested included 15 women and 2 elderly men in poor health. They were taken from the home of one of the believers as they were having a worship meeting.

Eritrea is listed in the number 12 position on the 2011 World Watch List.

Father, the cost of following You is high in the country of Eritrea. Thank You for the courage of believers there who worship and serve You in spite of the cost. We ask You to comfort the family and friends of Seble Mebrahtu in their grief and we pray that her death will not have been in vain, but will serve as a testimony to guards and other officials who observed her faith. And we call on You to protect Your church there that it will grow despite the persecution they face daily.


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