There are reports from Eritrea that the government has released 27 Christian prisoners of faith, and hopes are rising that more could follow.
According to Release International, the sister mission of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, the government has just set free 27 prisoners, most of whom have been imprisoned for more than ten years. They have yet to be named. There are believed to be 19 men and eight women, who were jailed at Mai Serwa prison, close to the capital Asmara. They were released yesterday, September 8, and on September 3.
There are indications that other Christian prisoners at the jail have been informed they could soon be set free.
Map of Eritrea
This follows the release of 22 Methodist prisoners in July from another prison, mainly women and children.
There are believed to be around 500 Christian prisoners of faith in Eritrea, many imprisoned indefinitely under appalling conditions.
In August, Eritrea announced it was releasing some Pentecostal Christians, among others, in a move to prevent the spread of coronavirus in its overcrowded jails. The 27 just released are believed to be the first to be allowed to leave.
‘We are encouraged by the news of this release of Christian prisoners,’ says Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley. “We pray the remaining Christians in prison will soon be released as well. As for the 27 Christians who have been set free from jail, they are still not free to leave Eritrea. Some have been imprisoned for so long that they have become completely institutionalised. They will need help and support.”
In Eritrea, prisons are located in the hot desert and prisoners are kept in metal shipping containers.
Individuals interested in learning more about Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s work in partnership with Eritrean Christians can visit https://vomkorea.com/en/country-profile/Eritrea/.