July 24, 2019

Joy, even in persecution


Helen Berhane is a member of the Rhema church, one of several minority Evangelical Christian churches not officially recognized by the state of Eritrea and heavily persecuted. She was arrested on 13 May 2004, shortly after she released an album of Christian music, after refusing to sign  a document pledging to end all participation in Evangelical activities, which included her music. Helen was detained at Mai Serwa military camp, north of the capital Asmara. She had no possibility of contact with her family and was denied legal representation or medical care. She was released in November 2006 after an international campaign led by Amnesty International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, and Release International, suffering heavy illnesses. She and her daughter Eva were granted asylum in Denmark after fleeing separately to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum for refuge. She wrote the book Song of the Nightingale to share her story.

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