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Jehovah’s Witnesses’ release in Eritrea a rare sign of religious toleration


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The release of 28 Witnesses follows the freeing of 20 Pentecostal and evangelical Christians who had been imprisoned for their faith.

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) — In Eritrea, members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses group who had been serving long prison sentences were set free on Friday (Dec. 4), a surprising development for the east African country, where freedom of religion or belief is severely suppressed.

The denomination announced that two women and 26 men had been freed after spending between five and 26 years each in prison. The group, as well as another 24 Witnesses who are still in prison, had been incarcerated for their faith.

“Several of those jailed are male Witnesses who are conscientious objectors to military service. However, the majority — including women and the elderly — are imprisoned for their religious activity or for undisclosed reasons,” said the denomination in a statement.

Jehovah’s Witnesses activities are banned or restricted in several countries, including China, Russia, Singapore and many Muslim-majority countries. In the case of Eritrea, the constitution guarantees the right to the freedom of religion or belief — a possible reason why the jailed Witnesses have never been formally charged or sentenced — but this freedom has never been granted in practice.

Read more: https://religionnews.com/2020/12/10/jehovahs-witnesses-released-in-eritrea-a-rare-move-toward-religious-toleration/

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The release of 28 Witnesses follows the freeing of 20 Pentecostal and evangelical Christians who had been imprisoned for their faith. NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) — In Eritrea, members of the Jehovah’s W

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