Eritrea Christian Prisoner Now with Her Savior in Glory

October 31, 2013 by Open Doors in General


Wehazit Berhane Debesai, a Christian woman in her 30’s, died approximately three weeks ago. Though the exact day of her death is unknown, sources report that Debesai died of pneumonia after facing harsh prison conditions and being denied medical treatment because she refused to renounce her faith. Debesai is the 25th known believer to have died while detained in an Eritrean prison.

Since her arrest a year ago, Wehazit had been kept in seclusion in Adi Quala, south of Mendefera, near the Ethiopian border. The government arrested her for involvement in Christian activities outside of the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran church groups. Her fiance Yohannes was arrested the same day and also held at Adi Quala.

Throughout Wehazit’s imprisonment, the arrests have continued; the news of her death coincided with word that the government arrested a large number of Christians who gathered for prayer on Wednesday, Oct 21. Security officials burst in on 70 Christians belonging to various denominations in the capital of Asmara as they met for a special prayer gathering. The group included 27 women. It is the third time the pastor leading the prayer event has been imprisoned for his Christian activities. The latest arrests bring the number of Christians that have been arrested this year alone to nearly 300 in what local Christians have called the most serious campaign against the Church yet.

An Open Doors observer said, “We would like to ask Christians to pray for Christian women and men of all ages who remain in prison for their faith. They are secluded in underground dungeons, metal shipping containers and military detention centers. They face exposure, hard labor and insufficient food, water and hygiene. They are regularly denied medical treatment for malaria and pneumonia, which they contract while in prison, or diseases such as diabetes, hypertension or cancer that they may have had prior to imprisonment.”

Father, we bring before You today the many Christians in Eritrea who are in prison for living out their faith. Along with Wehazit’s family, we pause to remember her life, snuffed out at an early age because of her faith in Christ. We rejoice that she is now in heaven with You, worshiping freely, released from all the constraints sin places on our lives here on earth. We pray for her family that they would be comforted. And we pray for the many Christians who remain in prison that You would strengthen and sustain them in the midst of harsh conditions. And we pray for Your Spirit to fall on this nation bring godly justice and a multitude praising the One True and Living God.

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