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Eritrean Detainee Dies After Being Refused Treatment

March 27, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Eritrea

Open Doors learned last week that another Christian has died while in detention in Eritrea. Belay Gebrezgi Tekabo died at Ala Military Camp about 20 miles from the southern Eritrean town of Dekemhare. He had been imprisoned since April of last year for “praying and reading his Bible”.

During his incarceration, Belay suffered intense military punishment for his continued religious activities. Diagnosed with Leukemia six months prior to his death, officials told him he would not be permitted to go to Dekemhare hospital for treatment until he agreed to sign a recantation statement.

Sources reporting the death indicated that about 45 other believers are being held in horrendous circumstances in dungeon-like cells at Ala. They are enduring severe military punishment for refusing to stop their Protestant religious practices.

Open Doors also received reports that the government’s vigorous arrest campaign against Christians has not relented since it began at the beginning of the year. Rumors about continuing action against unrecognized churches abound. On Saturday, March 16, police officers arrested 17 Christians in Keren who were gathered in a home. The believers, including six female students, are being detained at the Keren Police Station. Although it is customary for family members to take food to relatives in prisons, officers are barring anyone from visiting this group.

Father, Your church in Eritrea has suffered much. We know You look down and see their plight, and are present with them in their distress. We pray for the family of Belay Gebrezgi Tekabo, that You will comfort and strengthen their faith as they mourn their loss, and that You will provide for their temporal needs. We lift up to Your care those who have been arrested recently; that You will grant them the grace and longsuffering needed to bear up under this trial, and that You will provide a way for them to receive visits from family members who want to bring food for their sustenance. In the wake of this arrest campaign, protect believers from fear and despair, drawing them near to You in comfort and hope. In the name of Jesus, our only true hope and source of joy, Amen.

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