Friday, September 28, 2007

Eritrean Christians tell of torture

Paulus says he was tortured for being an Evangelical Christian(left)
Patriarch Antonious (l) used to have good relations with the president (r) (above left)

The Orthodox Church has been in Eritrea for 1600 years(above right)

By Tanya Datta
BBC News, northern Ethiopia

An Eritrean refugee lies contorted on the ground. Balanced on his belly, his hands clutch his feet behind his back, bending his legs back almost double.

Paulus is demonstrating a torture technique known colloquially as "the helicopter".

It is one he knows well. It was in this excruciating position, he claims, that soldiers left him tied up for 136 hours, in an attempt to force him to recant his faith.

"They kept asking me to sign a document," he recalls, "and agree to not participate in church activities or express my faith in any form. I was told I would be untied and released the minute I agreed to their requests."

Paulus is an evangelical Christian from Eritrea, one of an increasing number fleeing the tiny Red Sea state because of religious persecution.

Home these days is Shimelba refugee camp in northern Ethiopia, close to the disputed border with Eritrea. Here, in the Ebenezer Evangelical Church on camp, Paulus is free to worship in a way that is unthinkable back in his homeland.


During the past five years, a brutal campaign has been waged in Eritrea against Christian minorities, focusing mainly on the evangelical and Pentecostal movements.

Weddings, baptisms, church services and prayer meetings have been raided ...READ THE REST HERE:

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