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Christian Mom Dies While Imprisoned for Her Evangelical Faith in Eritrea

A Christian mother who was arrested earlier this year amid a crackdown on evangelical Christians in the African nation of Eritrea has died, a Christian human rights organization reported. Fikadu Debesay, an evangelical mother of three

A Christian mother who was arrested earlier this year amid a crackdown on evangelical Christians in the African nation of Eritrea has died, a Christian human rights organization reported.

Fikadu Debesay, an evangelical mother of three who was arrested along with her husband in May, died last week while imprisoned at Metkel Abiet, a desert camp located between the towns of Shieb and Gahtelai in the country’s Red Sea Region, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

CSW, a religious freedom advocacy organization that received United Nations accreditation earlier this year, reported that the mother was buried last Thursday in Mendefera, the capital city of Eritrea’s Debub Region.

“CSW is saddened to hear of the death of Fikadu Debesay. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this painful time. We think particularly of her children, who are mourning their mother in the absence of their detained father, and of the other children whose parent or parents are unjustly incarcerated,” CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement.

Although the cause of Debesay’s death is not known, Thomas explained that the conditions and treatment that many Christians face in detention at camps like Metkel Abiet are “so inhumane that they can cause a mental breakdown.” Also, the Red Sea Region is known for its extreme heat and dryness.

“Clearly, human rights and fundamental freedoms continue to be violated comprehensively in Eritrea, and the situation of freedom of religion or belief is deteriorating,” Thomas asserted. “Once again, we urge the international community to ensure that the government and its officials are made to account for the crimes perpetrated against Eritrean citizens, and to maintain pressure on the regime until every prisoner of conscience is freed without precondition.”

More than 160 Christians have been detained in police raids so far this year.

In June, Thomas said that the current crackdown is a “clear illustration that the persecution of unrecognized faith groups in Eritrea is continuing.”

Over 15 years ago, the Eritrean government closed nonsanctioned churches, banned religious events and practices not affiliated with the state-approved denominations and began its crackdown on outlawed religious practices. Religious denominations recognized by the Eritrean government include Sunni Islam, the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Orthodox Christianity.

According to CSW, arrests are still occurring monthly. In the first week of August alone, 23 Christians were detained in the nation’s capital city of Asmara.

In June, Release International reported that Eritrean Christians arrested during government raids in the past were usually detained at Christian events like Bible studies or worship services. The organization explained that government agents are now simply going door-to-door to arrest Christians.

“Security officials accompanied by an Orthodox priest are turning up at homes and questioning people over their religious affiliation,” Release International explained. “All except Muslims, Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran are liable for arrest.”

Premier Christian Radio reported that the number of Eritrean Christians detained in raids this year has reached 210.

Eritrea currently ranks as the 10th worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List.

Review overview
  • k.tewolde August 16, 2017

    You can’t think,you can’t believe,you can’t worship,you can’t move,you can’t speak,you can’t dream,you can’t openly grieve your loss,you can’t……….what is that you allowed to do as a human being in that village run by pickle head chiefs who can’t solve a quadratic equation?

  • Bazen August 16, 2017

    It is another sad story from a miserable nation created by the most miserable and inferiority laced al Sawra-generation who thinks it can solve a complex mathematical equations, way beyond quadratic equations but knows nothing the variable values of its own languages, identity and heritage.
    Eritrea is here as a shame of humanity because the al-Sawra generation that can’t think, speak up and dream of beyond what its alien masters across the sea concocted on its coconut heads. At the end of the day, thanks to the al-Sawra idiots, we look, walk and talk like Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq …. and the Wahabi retards.

    • Danilo August 17, 2017

      I think you are looking diametrically lost territory rather than language and heritage value. you must tray triangular, angular and circular banditry. The equation will not be found unless you go back hundred years. Sewra has nothing to do with. So, do you want solution? Try again using pencil and rubber to raise ( ethio game ) kisha Kasa +Beradino

      • Debessay August 17, 2017

        Get your Mussolini god father and slave master to work out your mafia equations. Evil and alien Sewra has everything to do with our present shames, crisis, refugees, deaths in the deserts and seas, kidnapping and beheadings by savage barbaric Islamic followers.

  • tekle andom August 16, 2017

    I wish I was not eritrean

  • Z. Hagos August 16, 2017

    Some regret the day they empowered Isaias. Niemöller’s words are good reminders to all Eritrean inside Eritrea: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then, they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then, they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Finally, the Nazis came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
    This fact is every fact in Eritrea. Even the generals who were part of the tyranny, the tyranny came to them and finished them. No one is safe. One by one all and every Eritrean will fall into the collecting net of the tyranny unless the people join hands and take action to destroy the net.

  • shilan August 16, 2017

    Z.Hagos & K.Tewolde, you two are just useless talkatives like empty gerewegna/vessel making empty noises. Talk is really cheap and easy but real action is what really matters and what really counts and on both these counts you are failures and half men. At least unlike unfortunate others you probably live on free hand outs and food stamps.

    • k.tewolde August 16, 2017

      It is a cheap shot shilan whatever that is,people who live on handouts and food stamps are not less of human beings,at one point or another a displaced refugee has benefited from some type of assistance unless you are a paid regime spy who flew first class,that said,talking about real action some of us in this platform might be the last once who actually stood up and took a shot at the one who concocted this current mayhem on our people face to face,unfortunately,he survived hiding behind our brothers and sisters like he is doing today using our children as human shield.Don’t pick on somebody you don’t have no clue who they are.The purpose of this medium is to comment and we doing just that.

      • shilan August 17, 2017

        Simply you are a ball less, brainless and gutless talkative always and just glued to talk, write nonsense. “Don’t pick on somebody you don’t have no clue who they are”, Give us the freaking clue as to who the hell you think you are then!!!!
        Your supposedly new found wisdom or knowledge doesn’t impress/deceive anyone.

        • k.tewolde August 17, 2017

          Don’t be rattled,one thing is for sure,I am not ‘shilan’ thank God.If you can’t figure out who I am by now,I suggest you review Assenna’s archives.Remember people are allowed to speak their mind here,I wish the Eritrean people could spill their guts,what would be your reaction? thus this medium speaks for them.How is that for brainless.I think I gave you enough of my precious time.

          • Debessay August 17, 2017

            You and your type of yesterday’s defeated people are delaying our fights against PFDJs as you continue to fight for a new Arabic ELF flag and Arabic Eritrea state. You all first of all should be wiped out from our future struggles.

  • k.tewolde August 19, 2017

    Debessay,you sound like Trump who is trying to make America great by ignoring the vast character of the nation.I wonder what kind of ‘Eritrea state’ are you fighting for? can’t wait to hear.You did the wiping a long time ago,who is holding you to accomplish that against PFDJ if you really mean it?