March 14, 2012 Washington DC (International Christian Concern) –Patriarch Antonios, who has been imprisoned for his faith, is a diabetic and his situation is deteriorating due to lack of medical attention. The Patriarch has been detained at an undisclosed location since January 2006.
“It is a miracle that he remains alive without medical care. International humanitarian organizations, such as the Red Cross, should be allowed to visit the Patriarch. We also urge the Eritrean government to release the Patriarch for humanitarian reasons,” said Fr. Athanasius Ghebre-Ab, and Eritrean Orthodox priest in the US and an academic.
Eritrean government is known for clamping down on Christians in the country. There are over 3000 Christians imprisoned in Eritrea because of their faith.
ICC’s Jonathan Racho, said, “We are deeply concerned about the health of the Patriarch and urge the International community to pressure Eritrea to release him. Eritrea must end the unlawful detention of Christian prisoners.”
Patriarch Antonios was detained for asking the Eritrean government to release members of his church detained for their beliefs and urging the Eritrean officials not to interfere in the affairs of the church.
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NOTE: The Orthodox Church of Eritrea is part of the Oriental Orthodox family, together with the Coptic Orthodox, The Ethiopian Orthodox, the Syriac, the Armenian and the Syro-Malabar Orthodox.