After two and a half year of imprisonment in Mai Serwa army camp, gospel singer Helen Berhane who belonged to a banned evangelical church in Eritrea was released in late October, according to a statement issued by Amnesty International
Helen Berhane had just put out a new album when she was arrested in the Eritrean capital Asmara in May 2004
“She spent most of her detention in inhuman and degrading conditions inside a metal shipping container which was used as a prison cell. The authorities reportedly tortured her many times to make her recant her faith. In October 2006, she was admitted to hospital in Asmara as a result of new beatings. She was released in late October but is said to be confined to a wheelchair due to the injuries she sustained to her feet and legs,” the statement from Amnesty International said.
Since 2002, only the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran Christian churches and Islam have been allowed to operate in Eritrea. Members of some 35 minority Christian evangelical churches face fierce persecution, even though freedom of religion is guaranteed in the Eritrean Constitution. According to Amnesty International an estimated 2,000 members of minority churches, including about 20 pastors, are currently detained.
Amnesty International – 3 November 2006:
‘ERITREA: Gospel singer Helen Berhane released’
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