June 2017: Up to 33 Christian women in Eritrea were jailed on an island prison notorious for the torture of inmates. The women, who were jailed at Nakura island prison off the Eritrean coast, were among more than 120 Christians arrested after being accused of taking part in prayer activities involving banned Church groups. The arrests, all carried out within a single month, were part of a government crackdown on so-called dissident activity.
Human rights organisations have frequently claimed there is maltreatment of prisoners at Nakura prison, with reports of inmates being tied up and their Bibles burned in front of them.
Reporting back from a rare fact-finding visit to Eritrea, a source known to Aid to the Church in Need said there are “hundreds of political prisons” in Eritrea, where many Christians are being held. “Prisoners cry out to be dead,” said the source, “and go crazy because of the torture they receive. The oppression of the regime against [non-registered] Christians is merciless.”