Eritrea: Christian Prisoner Dies Amid Intense Persecution

Friday, September 7, 2007

SANTA ANA, CA (Open Doors USA) -- Christians in Eritrea confirmed that Migsti Haile (33) passed away at the Weaa Military Training Centre. She reportedly died yesterday morning, September 5, as a result of torture for refusing to sign a letter recanting her faith. Haile was among a group of 10 single Christian women who had been arrested at a church gathering in Keren and spent 18 months imprisoned under severe pressure.

Before her arrest Haile worked for a relative while she studied to complete eleventh grade of her high school education. She was also an active member of the Rhema church.

Christians in Eritrea are in need of prayer as they continue to face intense persecution. It is clear that the government is continuing its campaign against Christians.

Open Doors reported on August 21 that the group of 10 single Christian women who had all been arrested 18 months ago were separated from other prisoners and taken to Weaa Military Training Centre and underwent torture after they refused to sign a letter recanting their faith.

The Eritrean government criminalized all independent Protestant churches in May 2002, closing their buildings and banning them from even meeting together in private homes.

More than 2,000 Eritrean Christians — including dozens of pastors and priests — remain locked up and subjected to severe torture for their religious beliefs in the nation’s jails, police stations and military camps. All have been denied legal counsel or trial, with no written charges filed against them. During the past year, at least four Christians have died from physical mistreatment while under arrest.

“We need to keep up our prayer vigil for the Christians in Eritrea,” says Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller. “Eritrea is a small country in Africa, but that doesn’t mean the persecution is less intense than in larger countries. The government keeps denying that the persecution is taking place. But that is not the truth. There are at least 2,000 reasons for praying for our imprisoned brothers and sisters in Christ.”