Police arrested these church members from homes and workplaces during broad daylight and then marched them through town to the police station while beating them,” an investigator for Open Doors said.
Among the 125 Christians, 45 men and women were arrested on Feb. 27 for worshipping outside highly regulated government-approved churches in Eritrea. All of the 125 Christians detained were members of an evangelical denomination located in the southwestern town of Barentu.
According to sources, the Eritrean government has denied any wrongdoing in regards to the arrests. “Being a Christian in Eritrea is like living in hell,” a source inside Eritrea said. “Christians are treated like enemy number one.”
President Isaias Afwerki, who has been in power since 1993, has instituted a totalitarian regime that seeks to control all aspects of life in Eritrea, including the religious practices of its citizens. “Systematic, ongoing and egregious religious freedom violations continue in Eritrea,” the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom states. “These violations include torture, sometimes resulting in death, arbitrary detention and prolonged bans on religious activities.”
It is estimated over 2,000 Christians remain imprisoned in Eritrea, exposed to some of the most inhumane conditions in the world.