Saturday, August 17, 2013

Eritrean authorities punish 39 Sawa students for Christian faith -

ASMARA, Eritrea — Eritrean authorities are punishing 39 high school students for their Christian faith, excluding them from a graduation ceremony, subjecting them to beatings and forcing them into labor camps. After completing a four-month military training required in Eritrea, the students, including 11 girls, have been arrested for their “Christian beliefs and for their commitment to Christ,” sources told Open Doors.
After completing school, all Eritreans are required to participate in national service. The 39 students were selected out from 17,000 students of the 26th national service intake who graduated July 13, according to Open Doors. Graduating students then continue to Senior Secondary School to complete grade 12.
Since 2002 worship outside the government-sanctioned Sunni Muslim, Eritrean Orthodox Church (EOC), Roman Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea has been forbidden, with Protestant worship a criminal offense. In 2005 authorities also began persecuting the EOC, particularly those in the church’s renewal movement.