(Asmara 17-02-2011) Eritrean authorities have released two pregnant women from incarceration days before their expected delivery dates. The women who have been in prison for three months were arrested in the purge that took place in the southern regions of the country at the close of last year. Conditions in prisons are said to be dire with malnutrition and severe hygiene concerns. Prisoners are also tortured and maltreated on regular bases.
The administrator of the region Mr Mustafa Nur Hussein ordered an end of year extermination of all evangelical Christians in his province by the end of 2010, at a meeting in October of the same year. In the months that followed security officers in the region arrested every leader of the underground church network and in many cases their respective spouses too. The situation has resulted in many children being left without parents and in the care of elderly relatives.
Many of those arrested are said to be from the kale-Hiwet and Mulu-Wengel evangelical churches of Eritrea. Commenting on these developments Dr Berhane Asmelash, Director of Release Eritrea said ‘our concern for the welfare of vulnerable children and women is grave and of course the continuing persecution is something that we need to continually bring to everyone’s attention and prayers. People in Eritrea need our support and solidarity and Release Eritrea will continue to highlight these needs’.
The government of Eritrea banned all Christian groups not belonging to the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches of Eritrea on May 2002. This was followed by the most severe religious persecution in our world today, 3,000 Eritrean Christians are currently imprisoned in the most appalling conditions in various parts of the country, some people have been incarcerated since 2002 and have never been brought before a court. Several people have died in prison as a result of torture, treatable illnesses and malnutrition. Those who object to this, including the patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox church, are also arrested.
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