Christians released from Eritrean prison

By February 26, 2008

Eritrea (MNN) — Authorities in the East African country of Eritrea released 35 evangelical Christians in the port city of Massawa after holding them in custody for six weeks at a local police station. All the jailed believers were members of the government-banned Faith of Christ Church.

Compass Director reports that 35 men and women had been worshiping in a private home on Jan. 6 when security officials raided the house and arrested those present. The group was denied visitation rights while in police custody, although official charges were never filed against them. Three days earlier, 10 members of the Full Gospel Church who had been incarcerated for five years in Assab's notorious military prison were released on bail.

The seven men and three women had been transferred from Assab to the Adi-Abyto prison six months ago. Local sources confirmed this week that a senior pastor in the Kale Hiwot Church remains imprisoned in Asmara Police Station No. 5 since his arrest nearly five months ago. Pastor Oqbamichael Tekle-Haimanot was jailed on Oct. 1, 2007. He has been subjected to 10 months of solitary confinement and hard labor for participating in a Protestant Christian wedding in January 2005.

Continue to pray that believers will be bold in their faith and that the church will grow despite the oppression.

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