The organization International Christian Concern (ICC) is publicizing revelations in a US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks concerning grave human rights violations in Eritrea. According to ICC, there are currently more than 3,000 Christians imprisoned in Eritrea for practicing their faith. ICC says the leaked document confirms years of the organization’s reports about the harsh conditions faced by prisoners in Eritrea.
One unnamed former prisoner told US embassy personnel in Eritrea about the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in the facility where he was held, with some 600 inmates kept in a 40-by-38 foot cell. “It was not possible to lie down and barely possible to sit,” he said.
The ex-prisoner said he heard “the screams of people being tortured” and saw security officials “bringing back badly bruised and bleeding detainees to the holding room.” He witnessed Eritrean security officials “beating a man with a rubber hose on his bare feet.” In another instance, he observed “a man sitting with his arms tied and raised behind his back. His feet were tied together and a wooden pole was placed beneath his knees.”
The cable stated that the informants’ cellmates were “Eritreans who tried to flee the country, military deserters, common criminals, and Protestants (presumably of unregistered denominations).”(Spero News, Jan. 20)
The cable, online at the WikiLeaks website, is entitled “SUBJECT: ARREST, INTERROGATION, AND TORTURE OF XXXXXXXXXXXX.” It is unclear if the ex-prisoner’s name was redacted by the embassy or WikiLeaks. The text states: “Classified By: Ambassador Ronald K. McMullen.” It is dated “11/06/2028,” which is presumably a typo for 2008.