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eritreaTwo Christian women tragically died in Eritrea on March 17th, just days after being transferred to a hospital from detention where they had been on a hunger strike. According to the Eritrean website, Erimedrek News, the two women were detained at the Wi'a military camp prior to being transported in critical condition to Massawa Hospital on March 12th. They had embarked on a hunger strike in protest of the horrific abuse they were receiving while in detention. Upon medical investigation, their bodies were allegedly marked with bruising consistent with sexual abuse.

The Eritrean government is one of the most repressive in the world. Thousands of prisoners of conscience are detained arbitrarily for indefinite periods of time in unsatisfactory facilities where conditions are life-threatening and torture is rife. A campaign of arrests targeting selected religious communities has been ongoing since 2002 when the government effectively outlawed all Christian practises not affiliated with certain denominations and Sunni Islam.

In its June 2016 report, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Eritrea found "reasonable grounds to believe" that crimes against humanity have been committed by state officials in a "widespread and systematic manner" since 1991. Crimes of persecution against religious groups involve all forms of abuse, including repeated rape or gang rape by detention officials.

Thank you for upholding the grieving families and friends of the two deceased Christian women. As they grieve over the tragic loss of these precious lives, may they take comfort in knowing that their loved ones are now in the glorious presence of Jesus -- where they are freed from pain, sorrow and fear.... Pray that this case will be used to expose the grave injustices and evil practices within Eritrea's prison system and, therefore, serve to bring about greatly needed change. Additionally, please intercede for the safe release of the numerous Christians remaining in captivity, and for God's wisdom and protection to be granted to all who are diligently striving to carry out the Great Commission in this repressive nation.