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Eritrea Punishes High School Students for 'Commitment to Christ'

Nearly 40 Protestants arrested after completing military training.
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Eritrean authorities have arrested 39 high school students for their Christian faith, excluding them from a graduation ceremony and subjecting them to beatings and hard labor.

According to Christian support organization Open Doors, the students, including 11 girls, have been arrested for their "Christian beliefs and for their commitment to Christ" after completing a four-month military training required in Eritrea. The 39 students were selected from 17,000 students of the 26th national service intake who graduated on July 13.

"The youths are now enduring beating, forced hard labor and insufficient food and water" at the SAWA military training center, the organization reported in a press statement. "Sources said authorities are also threatening the students with long imprisonment and exclusion from university should they 'fail to renounce Christ.'"

The government began a widespread crackdown on Christians outside the state-approved churches ...

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