Date: September 19, 2020
‘I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me – God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.’ (Psalm 57:2-3)
In one of our online staff prayer meetings this week, we were reminded of God’s faithfulness and everlasting goodness. No matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in – whatever trials come before us or suffering we’re forced to endure – we know that we do not face these problems alone. Through it all God is faithfully standing by us.
This week join us in praying this truth over all those imprisoned for their faith in Eritrea.
27 Christians – 19 men and eight women – were released from Mai Serwa Prison, near the capital Asmara, on 4 and 8 September. They’d been detained without charge or trial because of their beliefs; some had been imprisoned for 16 years.
We thank God that these people finally have the freedom they deserve, though sadly their release is only conditional. The prisoners had to provide guarantors and these guarantors could risk losing their properties, and even their own freedom, if one of the detainees leaves the country.
‘They release and put other people in prison at the same time’
Moreover, just two weeks earlier, several Christians were arrested in Asmara. According to one of our sources: ‘It is a government strategy. They cannot detain everybody, so they keep you for some time, hoping that you will become weak or frightened. Then they put in other people. They release and put other people in prison at the same time.’
Tens of thousands of Eritreans are currently detained without charge or trial; many are prisoners of conscience held because of their religious or political beliefs. Prisoners are kept in unsanitary, dangerous and inhumane conditions, including in shipping containers, underground cells or in the open air in the desert.
The recent releases appear to be linked to the spread of COVID-19 in the country’s overcrowded prison system. Eritrea’s official statistics suggest that the country’s only had 341 cases of infection and no deaths attributed to the virus, though these figures have not been independently verified.
In summary, please pray:
- Thanking God for the release of the 27 Christians, and for those who’ve agreed to act as their guarantors.
- For protection from COVID-19 for all those who remain imprisoned.
- That all those held without charge or trial on account of their religious or peaceful political beliefs would be released.
- That Eritreans would be free to practise their religion of choice, without fear of punishment from the authorities.