by Ruth Kramer
Mission Network News
If that’s what it’s like for the “average” citizen, what is it like for religious minorities? Persecution watchdog groups like the Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, and Amnesty International say it’s an untenable situation for Christians. Since they are considered a threat to the state, they are treated like criminals. Add to that a growing sympathy toward Islamic extremism, and things get really rough.
Christians face dreadful conditions in prison: sometimes prison cells are shipping containers in the desert. Christians face physical torture, hard labor, emotional torture, insufficient food, insufficient hygiene, and insufficient medical care. At least 22 Christians have died while being detained under these conditions.
Any time stories like this get published, strong opposition is expressed, often with accusations of inaccuracy and outright lying. Nettleton responds that in his experience, dissent comes from someone connected to the Eritrean government, someone who is obstructing the results from things like the UN fact-finding missions, or someone who is willfully ignoring what’s going on.
“Anything that you hear or read that says. ‘No, Eritrea is a free nation. Christians are free and can do whatever they want,’ that is factually untrue, and really, laughable, when you understand the situation on the ground: Christians, even at weddings, will be rounded up and arrested; Christians [are] literally disappearing–no charges, no trial...”