(Jeddah23-3-2011)  Release Eritrea has just received reports that Saudi authorities have detained an Eritrean Christian preacher on the 12th Feb 2011 at a mosque in an area commonly known as Haya Roda, in the Capital Jeddah.

Mussie Eyob who converted to Christianity just over two years ago felt the urge to share his faith with members of his community, and started preaching at the Eritrean Embassy, after three days of doing this he then went to the local mosque to meet and talk with attendants there, but he was arrested by authorities for preaching to  Muslims, an offence that carries a death sentence in Saudi Arabia.

Concerned about potential mental ill health authorities had Eyob examined by doctors who confirmed that he is fit for trial and sentencing. Eyob has now been transferred to a notorious  high security prison known as Briman Prison.

Friends and family who visited him, on the 20th March, at prison confirm that al-though he has lost weight he is in relatively good spirit. However members of his family are very concerned for his welfare and have asked for advocacy on his behalf.

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of executions in the world. According to Amnesty International statistics on death sentences, at least 69 were exe-cuted in Saudi Arabia in 2009, 102 in 2008. In late 2009, Amnesty International denounced the presence of at least 141 people on death row in Saudi Arabia, including 104 foreign nationals. Migrant workers from Africa, Asia and the Mid-dle East are the main victims.

Release-Eritrea appeals to the Saudi authorities to show compassion on the young man who was only interested in sharing the good news of his faith with fellow Eritreans.