Arrest and Background.
Eritrean Christian Twen (32) has been in prison
for eleven years. She has endured terrible beatings and torture at the hands
of prison guards, and spent time in a shipping container with gospel singer
Helen Berhane. Twen was arrested in January 2005 at an underground
church prayer meeting celebrating New Year, and was sent to Mai Sirwa
In 2006, Twen was joined by a large group of Christians arrested at a
wedding in Asmara. Twen and the women from this group who refused to
sign papers stating they would no longer engage in Christian activities
were sent to one of Eritrea’s harshest prisons, Wi’a, situated on the Red
Sea coast, one of the most inhospitable places on earth. Hundreds of prisoners have died in Wi’a
prison as a result of the extreme heat and appalling sanitary conditions. It was eventually closed by
government order, and Twen and her group were sent to Me’etr prison in the remote northwest,
which mainly houses Christians.
Family Twen’s family home is in the capital, Asmara. When she was a new Christian, in 2004 Twen
was arrested but was released after her father persuaded her to sign a paper saying she would not
continue to meet with other Christians, share her faith or engage in Christian activities.
Latest news Twen is a key women’s leader in prison and cares for the other women prisoners. Others
describe her as a “precious, lovely Christian”, determined to follow Jesus and willing to stay in prison
as long as God enables her to serve Him there. Once, because of illness, Twen was allowed to stay
with her family in Asmara for a month, but after treatment she made her own way back to the prison,
rather than arrange to be smuggled out of Eritrea.
Christian Prisoners The number of Christians in prison for their faith is much lower than it used to be,
at about 300. Some 173 have been in prison for more than six years. The number of new arrests is low:
last year there were only 36, with most released after a few months. Hundreds of ex-prisoners who
were arrested in their late teens and spent more than six years in prison are now, in their mid twenties,
dependent on their parents.
One other male doctor imprisoned dropped in weight to only 37Kg (6 stone!) through near starvation!
1. Pray for health and strength for Twen as she cares for her fellow prisoners. She and twelve others have been offered freedom if they renounce Christ.
2. Pray that other prisoners will see the love of Jesus displayed in Twen’s life.
3. Pray for an end to the persecution of Christians in Eritrea and for the release of those in prison.
Church in Chains.