Saudi Arabia to deport Eritrean Christian

Thursday, July 21, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

saudi-arabia-mapRIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (Worthy News)-- Facing a possible death sentence, Eyob Mussie, a Christian refugee living in Saudi Arabia, was instead informed that he will be returned to Eritrea, a nation where returnees often face imprisonment, torture and even death.

Mussie was arrested in Saudi Arabia last February for proselytizing, a crime that carries the death penalty, but though he will be spared that sentence in Saudi, he will certainly suffer mistreatment or worse should he be returned to Eritrea.

Eritrean President Isiais Afwerki rules a nation where citizens are routinely subjected to arbitrary and indefinite imprisonment, torture and forced labor. An estimated 3,000 Christians are currently imprisoned without charge: some have been held incommunicado for years.

"We commend the Saudi government for sparing Mr. Mussie’s life," said Andrew Johnston, Advocacy Director for Christian Solidarity Worldwide. "However, deporting him to Eritrea means he has effectively been granted only a brief reprieve from danger since the Eritrean authorities will certainly subject him to cruel and inhumane treatment. As a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, we urge Saudi Arabia not to return Mr. Mussie to a country where there is a strong likelihood he will face severe mistreatment, and appeal to the Saudi authorities to consider alternative countries of asylum for Mr. Mussie."