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Brothers Paulos Eyasu, Isaac Mogos, and Negede Teklemariam, who have been in prison in Eritrea since September 17, 1994

SEPTEMBER 17, 2019

A Quarter Century Behind Bars in Eritrea

A Quarter Century Behind Bars in Eritrea

Eritrea is the center point of some of the most intense persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in modern times. As of September 17, 2019, three of the brothers, Paulos Eyasu, Isaac Mogos, and Negede Teklemariam, have been incarcerated for 25 years. In addition, 39 other brothers and 10 of our sisters are imprisoned.

All of our brothers and sisters currently in prison have never been charged, appeared in court, or sentenced. They do not know when they will be released. Four brothers have died while in prison, and three died after they were released because of the harsh conditions they suffered.

Persecution in Eritrea intensified on October 25, 1994, about a year and a half after Eritrea became an independent country from Ethiopia. The new president declared that Eritrean-born Jehovah’s Witnesses were no longer considered citizens primarily because they stood firm to their Christian neutrality. The president also stripped them of basic civil rights. Among other restrictions, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not able to receive a full secular education, own a business, or travel outside of the country.

In recent years, prominent human rights bodies have expressed increasing concern over Eritrea’s blatant disregard for international human rights standards, including cases involving our fellow Witnesses. Eritrea has failed to implement the recommendations issued by these authorities.

See: “SPECIAL REPORT: The Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Eritrea

We will continue to inform government officials and others in authority about the situation in Eritrea. As our brothers and sisters continue to display outstanding faith and courage in the face of cruel persecution, we confidently look to Jehovah as their Helper and “rock of refuge.”—Psalm 94:22.