Eritrea has released 28 members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses group after they served prison terms of up to 26 years.
In 1994 the citizenship for all members of the church was revoked by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and followers are routinely imprisoned without trial.
In its statement, the Jehovah’s Witnesses said 28 of its members incarcerated in Eritrea were freed on Dec. 4 after serving sentences of ranging from five to 26 years.
Another 24 remain in prison, it said.
“Eritrea arrests and imprisons Jehovah’s Witnesses and others without trial or formal charges. Several of those jailed are male Witnesses who are conscientious objectors to military service,” the statement said.
“However, the majority – including women and the elderly – are imprisoned for religious activity or undisclosed reasons.”
Some were detained for being conscientious objectors – in a country with compulsory military service.
The organisation says 24 members are still in prison.
Eritrea is one of the most oppressive nations in the world – with no elections or parliament and a draft constitution that has never been implemented.
Only four religious denominations are allowed – Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christianity, Sunni Islam and the Lutheran church.
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