Pastor Tesfay Sium Yihdego died in early April at the age of 58 after serving ten years and two months in an Eritrean prison because he was a faithful Christian minister.
He suffered from a brain tumor that developed while he was incarcerated. Prison officials decided to release him early after it became clear that he would not survive his condition. Upon his death, government security officials, community leaders and approved religious authorities refused to allow Pastor Tesfay a proper burial. Front-line workers say obtaining permission to bury Christians is a frequent challenge in Eritrea. Occasionally, funerals are held in the location where the person died. After 14 days, Pastor Tesfay’s family was finally able to bury him in a cemetery, but only eight people were permitted to attend the service.