Pastor escapes Eritrean prison camp to tell of hardships facing believers

Monday, September 23, 2019

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - An escapee of Eritrea’s prison camps and pastor recently spoke with persecution relief agency Barnabas Fund about the horrible conditions facing imprisoned believers there.

Gabriel was first put in jail by the Eritrean government in 1998 before being released, then imprisoned again under a sentence that was only supposed to last six months but ended up lasting three years before finally fleeing the country to Kenya and later Australia.

“Sometimes you dispute with God, why you let me go through this hardship?” he said in an interview. “But when you start reading the Bible, when you pray devotion daily, automatically your mind clicks, you are in the main way—the way you are supposed to go.”

As part of his punishment, Gabriel was once beaten in the head for an hour “like a donkey,” and another time placed in a metal shipping container for two weeks, but said the guards sometimes relented on beating Christians upon realizing they would not deny their faith, confessing their inability to "stop this Christian thing.”

Eritrea is the seventh-worst place in the world to be a Christian according to Open Doors USA, and only recognizes Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Lutheranism, forcing members of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, or “Pentays,” to go underground.