Asmara 02-12-2011) An Eritrean evangelist, deported from Saudi Arabia escaping death penalty for preaching Christianity outside a local mosque in Jeddah, has disappeared in Asmara and friends fear that he may be in the notorious high security Wenjel Mermera Prison (crime investigation prison).
Mussie Eyob was detained by Saudi authorities, on the 12th of February, for preaching outside a mosque in an area of Jeddah locally known as Haya Roda. His action is said to normally carry a death sentence under Saudi law, however following concerted appeal on his behalf he was deported to his native Eritrea only to disappear into Eritrea’s vast prison system where many Eritrean pastors and evangelists have been detained incommunicado for nearly nine years.
Release Eritrea is concerned about the safety and wellbeing of Mr Eyob and particularly apprehensive about the fact that he maybe in the high security prison along with other religious leaders who have been languishing there incommunicado for nearly nine years.
The 2010 UK Foreign and Common Wealth Office’s Human Rights Report placed Eritrea on its list of counties highlighted for particular concern due to their lack of progress in addressing the human rights violations. The report found both the situation with arbitrary arrests and restrictions to religious freedom worrying.
Release Eritrea calls on the government of Eritrea to either charge Mussie Eyob in a recognised court of law or release him from prison. speaking of his concern Rev Dr Berhane Asmelash Director of Release Eritrea said: ‘it is always concerning to note that yet another person has disappeared into Eritrea’s notorious prison network, however in this case it is an even greater travesty as the person in question has already spent months in a foreign prison and actually agreed to be sent back to his country of origin, I hope and pray that Mussie would be released soon and not disappear for years like many of the other pastors and evangelists also detained at the same prison’.