Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Eritrea

[WITH ALL MY HEART AND MIND, I LOVE MY BROTHERS!]

This special report on the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Eritrea, dated August 2019, has been prepared by the Office of Public Information for distribution and discussion with government officials.

Download in English

As of August 2019, there were 52 Jehovah’s Witnesses in prison in Eritrea. This handout includes a few details regarding each Witness detained.

Download in English

On April 28, 2018, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) reviewed the Eritrean government’s treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The following handout summarizes the ACHPR’s concluding observations that were adopted during its subsequent session, held from October 24 to November 13, 2018.

Download in English

(Newsroom, God’s visible organization’s JW.org, posted here at my website with permission from some of the CIA-DIA-FBI-Homeland Security agents who are assigned to pretend to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.)
cc all Mormon barristers

Two of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Habtemichael Tesfamariam and Habtemichael Mekonen, died in the Mai Serwa Prison near Asmara in early 2018. Both had been arrested and imprisoned in the summer of 2008 for their religious beliefs and suffered through nearly a decade of harsh prison conditions.

Mr. Tesfamariam died suddenly at the age of 76 in the Mai Serwa Prison on January 3, 2018. His fellow prisoners believe that he suffered a stroke. Mr. Tesfamariam was born in 1942 in Adi Yakulu, Mendefera, Eritrea. He became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1970 and refused to compromise his faith, despite unjust imprisonment and maltreatment. He is survived by his wife, Leterberhan Bezabih; four sons; and three daughters.

Mr. Mekonen died at the age of 77 in the Mai Serwa Prison on March 6, 2018. His fellow prisoners believe that he died of kidney failure. Mr. Mekonen was born in 1940 in the village of Kudo Felasi in southern Eritrea. He became a Witness well over 55 years ago and, like Mr. Tesfamariam, refused to compromise his faith, even though he was imprisoned without cause and mistreated. He is survived by his wife, Mihret Ellias, as well as a son and a daughter.

Unjust Arrest and Abuse

Mr. Mekonen was at home when authorities arrested him without charges in July 2008, and Mr. Tesfamariam was also at home when he was arrested in August 2008. Both were soon placed in the notorious Meitir Prison Camp, in the desert north of Asmara, where they endured harsh and inhumane conditions. For special punishment, authorities held Witness prisoners from October 2011 through August 2012 in a half-buried building described as the “underground.” There the prisoners suffered through the brutal summer heat without adequate food or water. Some experienced long-term health problems as a result.

In 2017, authorities transferred the Witnesses who were imprisoned at the Meitir Camp to the Mai Serwa Prison, where they are allowed to receive food packages from relatives and to obtain medical treatment when critically ill. The prisoners welcomed the transfer to a less severe prison environment, but Mr. Tesfamariam and Mr. Mekonen never fully recovered from their earlier mistreatment.


Habtemichael Mekonen and his wife, Mihret Ellias, before his imprisonment

Mr. Tesfamariam and Mr. Mekonen are not the first Witnesses to die in an Eritrean prison or shortly after their release. Because of inhumane prison conditions and mistreatment, two other Witnesses died while in prison, and three other Witnesses died soon after being discharged. At least seven Witnesses who were released from prison some years ago still suffer serious health issues that are directly related to their prison experience. Fifty-three Witnesses are still imprisoned in Eritrea for their faith, including Mr. Tesfamariam’s brother, Tareke.

Persecution Constitutes “a Crime Against Humanity”

On June 8, 2016, the United Nation’s Human Rights Council published a report based on the findings of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (COIE), which the council established to investigate human rights violations in Eritrea. The COIE urged Eritrea to “respect freedom of religion or belief” and to “put an end to the practice of arbitrary arrest and detention of individuals based on their religious beliefs, in particular followers of specific religious groups, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, . . . and release immediately and unconditionally all those unlawfully and arbitrarily detained.” The COIE concluded that Eritrea’s persecution of individuals based on their religion constitutes “a crime against humanity.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses hope that the recent death of Mr. Tesfamariam and of Mr. Mekonen will not go unnoticed by the international community and that these tragedies will move fair-minded Eritrean officials to take action in behalf of those unjustly imprisoned for their faith.

(Newsroom, God’s visible organization’s JW.org, posted here at my website with permission from some of the CIA-DIA-FBI-Homeland Security agents who are assigned to pretend to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.)
cc all Mormon barristers

Eritrea arrests and imprisons Jehovah’s Witnesses and others without trial or formal charges. Several of those jailed are male Witnesses who are conscientious objectors to military service. However, the majority—including women, children, and the elderly—are imprisoned for religious activity or for undisclosed reasons.

President Afewerki revoked the Witnesses’ citizenship by a presidential decree dated October 25, 1994, because they did not participate in the 1993 independence referendum and they conscientiously object to military service. Prior to enforcing conscription, the authorities in Eritrea provided for genuine alternative civilian service. Numerous Witnesses took part in this service under different government administrations. The authorities systematically issued “Certificates of Completed National Service” and often praised the participants for their work. On the basis of the presidential decree, however, security forces have imprisoned, tortured, and harassed Jehovah’s Witnesses in an effort to force them to renounce their faith.

Witnesses Die Because of Severe Prison Conditions

Four Witnesses have died while imprisoned in Eritrea, and three elderly Witnesses have died after their release from prison because of the harsh conditions they experienced while detained.

In 2018, two Witnesses died after their transfer to the Mai Serwa Prison. Habtemichael Tesfamariam died at age 76 on January 3, and Habtemichael Mekonen died at age 77 on March 6. Eritrean authorities imprisoned both men in 2008 without charges.

In 2011 and 2012, two Witnesses died because of the inhumane treatment in the Meitir Prison Camp. Misghina Gebretinsae, aged 62, died in July 2011 as a result of the extreme heat he experienced in a punishment area described as the “underground.” Yohannes Haile, aged 68, died on August 16, 2012, after almost four years of imprisonment under similar conditions. Three elderly Witnesses, Kahsai Mekonnen, Goitom Gebrekristos, and Tsehaye Tesfariam, died after their release as a result of the conditions they endured while in custody in the Meitir Camp.

Recommendations by Preeminent Human Rights Bodies Ignored

Eritrea persists in disregarding international human rights standards. Major human rights bodies have condemned the violations of basic rights and continue urging Eritrea to rectify the situation.

In 2014, the Human Rights Council (HRC) welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, which urged the authorities to respect the right of conscientious objection “in accordance with international norms” and to “guarantee the physical integrity of all prisoners; ensure access to medical treatment for those in need . . . and improve the conditions of detention in accordance with international standards.” In a 2015 resolution, the HRC called upon the government of Eritrea to “provide for conscientious objection to military service.”

In 2016, the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea determined that Eritrean authorities have committed a “crime against humanity” because of their “persecution on both religious and ethnic grounds” of Jehovah’s Witnesses and others.

In 2017, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) expressed its concern that despite the existence of legal protections, “children who belong to the Jehovah Witnesses” are not able to enjoy the benefits of this right and face harsh treatment. The ACERWC recommended that Eritrea “recognise and fully implement a child’s Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion with no discrimination.”

In 2018, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights recommended that Eritrea “take urgent measures to address the denial of basic rights of all detained persons, including . . . members of the Jehovah Witness faith” and called for an investigation of the reported deaths of Witnesses in detention. The commission emphasized the need for Eritrea to ensure that Jehovah’s Witnesses “retain their citizenship rights.”

In May 2019, the UN Human Rights Committee (CCPR) urged Eritrea to guarantee the effective exercise of freedom of religion and belief and to “release all persons arrested or detained for exercising their freedom of religion, including Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The CCPR also requested that Eritrea “ensure the legal recognition of conscientious objection to military service and provide for alternative service of a civilian nature for conscientious objectors.”

Indefinite Prison Sentences

Three men, Paulos Eyasu, Isaac Mogos, and Negede Teklemariam, have been in prison for conscientious objection to military service since September 17, 1994. Ten other men have been in prison for more than ten years.

Some Witness prisoners have been held in metal shipping containers, while others were held in stone or metal buildings half buried in the ground.

In July 2017, all the Witnesses detained in the Meitir Camp were transferred to the Mai Serwa Prison outside of Asmara. On November 30, 2017, all 13 Witnesses detained in the Sawa Camp, including Paulos Eyasu, Isaac Mogos, and Negede Teklemariam, were also transferred to the Mai Serwa Prison.

Most of the imprisoned male Witnesses are incarcerated indefinitely, with no hope of release until they die or are near death. Since there are no effective domestic legal procedures or remedies available to them, their imprisonment amounts to a de facto life sentence.

Time Line

  1. October 16, 2019

    Total of 52 Witnesses imprisoned.

  2. March 6, 2018

    Death of Habtemichael Mekonen, aged 77, after his transfer to the Mai Serwa Prison.

  3. January 3, 2018

    Death of Habtemichael Tesfamariam, aged 76, after his transfer to the Mai Serwa Prison.

  4. July 2017

    All Witnesses detained in the Meitir Camp are transferred to the Mai Serwa Prison outside of Asmara.

  5. July 25, 2014

    Most of those arrested on April 14 are released, but 20 of those arrested on April 27 are yet detained.

  6. April 27, 2014

    Thirty-one Witnesses arrested during a Bible study meeting.

  7. April 14, 2014

    More than 90 Witnesses arrested during the annual observance of the Memorial of Christ’s death.

  8. August 16, 2012

    Death of Yohannes Haile, aged 68, while imprisoned under extreme conditions.

  9. July 2011

    Death of Misghina Gebretinsae, aged 62, while imprisoned under extreme conditions.

  10. June 28, 2009

    Authorities raid a Witness home during a religious service and arrest all 23 Witnesses present, ages 2 to 80.

  11. April 28, 2009

    Authorities transfer all but one of Jehovah’s Witnesses jailed in police stations to the Meitir Prison Camp.

  12. July 8, 2008

    Authorities begin raids of homes and places of work to arrest 24 Witnesses, most of them breadwinners of their families.

  13. May 2002

    Government closes down all religious groups not operating under the four government-approved faiths.

  14. October 25, 1994

    Presidential decree stripping Jehovah’s Witnesses of citizenship and basic civil rights.

  15. September 17, 1994

    Paulos Eyasu, Isaac Mogos, and Negede Teklemariam imprisoned without charge or trial and currently still in prison.

  16. 1940s

    First communities of Jehovah’s Witnesses are established in Eritrea.

 

(Newsroom, God’s visible organization’s JW.org, posted here at my website with permission from some of the CIA-DIA-FBI-Homeland Security agents who are assigned to pretend to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.)
cc all Mormon barristers

Twenty years ago, Eritrean authorities arrested three young men and detained them in harsh conditions in the Sawa prison camp, where they remain until this day. They have never been charged with a crime, nor have they been given the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law. Why have they been unjustly imprisoned?

Paulos Eyasu, Negede Teklemariam, and Isaac Mogos are Jehovah’s Witnesses and conscientiously object to performing military service because of their strongly held religious beliefs. Had they been formally charged with the “crime” of refusing military service, they would have been sentenced to a fixed prison term. Paulos, Negede, and Isaac, now aged 41, 40, and 38 respectively, have spent their youth in confinement. They have been denied the opportunity to marry and have children, give support to their aging parents, or live their lives as they choose. They have also been denied the opportunity to worship with their fellow believers.

After their arrest on September 24, 1994, Paulos, Negede, and Isaac were treated severely, even tortured, by authorities in the Sawa prison camp. In recent years, however, the harsh treatment has ended, and their firm determination to remain loyal to their religious beliefs has earned them the respect of the prison guards.

Other Witnesses imprisoned in harsh conditions

It is in Eritrea, more than anywhere else in the world, that Jehovah’s Witnesses experience the most intense persecution. As of this writing, 73 Witnesses are in prison, including women, children, and the elderly. Many have endured under harsh desert conditions, lacking a balanced diet and sufficient water and being mistreated by prison officials. Three other Witness men have been imprisoned for more than ten years in the Sawa camp, but Paulos, Negede, and Isaac have been in detention the longest of any other Witnesses in Eritrea.

International community calls on Eritrea to end religious persecution

The international community is well-aware of Eritrea’s mistreatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious minorities.

  • Every year since 2004, the U.S. Department of State has designated Eritrea as a “country of particular concern,” which refers to “any country whose government engages in or tolerates particularly severe violations of religious freedom that are systematic, ongoing and egregious.”

  • The United Nations Human Rights Council has expressed deep concern at the “grave violations of human rights by the Eritrean authorities against their own population and fellow citizens.” It calls upon the Eritrean government “to respect everyone’s right to freedom . . . of thought, conscience and religion or belief.”

  • The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom stated in its Annual Report for 2014: “The religious freedom situation is particularly grave for . . . Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

  • In its World Report 2013, Human Rights Watch acknowledged that the Eritrean government continues to arrest, detain, and torture members of “unrecognized” religions and that “Jehovah’s Witnesses are especially victimized.”

  • In December 2005 the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Eritrea, which called on Eritrea to “guarantee, at all times, the right to a fair trial, freedom of opinion and expression as well as the right to peaceful assembly.”

Philip Brumley, general counsel for Jehovah’s Witnesses, spoke for Witnesses worldwide when he said: “It is our fervent hope that the government of Eritrea will release all Witness prisoners, including these three men who have been detained for 20 years, and bring an end to the persecution of our fellow believers.”

(Newsroom, God’s visible organization’s JW.org, posted here at my website with permission from some of the CIA-DIA-FBI-Homeland Security agents who are assigned to pretend to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.)
cc all Mormon barristers

 

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM ME:
NO MORMON MOMENT, MAGIC OF MACY*S, ALADDIN, HARRY POTTER … NO MAGIC/SORCERY/SATANISM CAN PREVENT THE IMPENDING STOCK MARKET CRASH, WORLDWIDE.

THIS IS ANOTHER AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM ME:
No matter how many people think otherwise, Jehovah’s Witnesses really is God’s visible organization.
The wrath of Jehovah God really is upon the Mormon Church of Satan, no matter how many people think otherwise.
The stock market really is going to crash, worldwide, no matter how many people think otherwise.
No matter how many people think otherwise, Caroline Kennedy will be elected President in the year 2020;
Jim Turner of Texas will be elected Vice President;
Robert Kennedy Jr. will be nominated and confirmed U.S. Attorney General; and,
Robert Mueller will be nominated and confirmed Director of the FBI.

No power on earth has the power to prevent the above prophetic message that I write from becoming reality, not even these four people themselves.  I write under inspiration from and with authority from, God, the true God, Jehovah.

cc all Mormon barristers

THIS IS ANOTHER AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM ME:

Mayor Warren Wilhelm aka Bill de Blasio is the clean-up man, if the Mormon Church of Satan/CIA succeed in their planned nuclear bomb attack on the Hudson River. His administration is already prepared to hold tribunals and immediately execute some of the “troublemakers” (30,000 bananas; nationwide: 30,000 guillotines, to be continued).


Berkshire Hathaway’s Brooks Running


Get 30,000 Bonus Points
Wells Fargo

Partial List of Scapegoats, if the Mormon Church of Satan/CIA succeed in their nuclear bomb attack on the Hudson River:
Former President Barack “Hussein” Obama
Former Advisor to the President, Valerie “June” Jarrett
Former Homeland Security Director “Jeh” Johnson
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka
Minnesota Congressman FBI agent Keith “Ellison”
New York Congressman FBI agent Hakim Jeffries
Former leader of the CIA’s Black Panthers: FBI agent “Malik Zulu Shabazz”
Former Public Relations Spokesman for the Mormon Church of Satan: FBI agent “Ahmad” Corbitt (recently returned from assignment in the Dominican Republic)

[greasy looking Latino American man and African American man made up to look like former President Barack Hussein Obama wearing Joseph Smith’s white shirt] Vivid Seats

[Former presidential candidate Joseph Smith (1844), author of “U.S. Constitution hanging by a thread” prophecy:]

Portrait of Joseph Smith Jr.
Wikipedia

The purpose of this website is to expose the Mormon Church of Satan and all enemies of Jesus Christ the Way the Truth the Life, the Prince of Peace.
This website is also the beginning of a presidential campaign to elect Caroline Kennedy President of the United States. I prayed to Jehovah God to please, by means of His son Christ Jesus, please, arrange national events and world events in such a manner such that Caroline Kennedy is elected President of the United States.  I know Jehovah God hears my prayer and will answer my prayer because that particular prayer of mine is one of my deepest desires and Jehovah God has promised me that he will satisfy all of my deepest desires.  All of the information posted at this website is interconnected; directly connected to the Mormon Church of Satan’s illegal sting operation surrounding Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, and me. The illegal sting operation that encompasses every human being on earth, and has resulted in the LEGAL CASE, unlike any other, ever. The LEGAL CASE, headed to The Hague, Netherlands. cc all Mormon attorneys

As the Storm Approaches,
Maintain Your Focus on Jesus!

(Matthew 14:22-34; Hebrews 12:2)
Concluding talk, Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention 2015, worldwide