Eritrean Catholic Bishop Fikremariam Hagos Freed from Detention
A leading Catholic bishop in Eritrea has been freed from detention after being held without trial since October, reliable sources have told the BBC.
Bishop Fikremariam Hagos was released along with a parish priest, Abba Mihretab Stefanos.
No reasons were given by the authorities for their detention.
The Catholic Church has repeatedly called for an end to one-party rule in Eritrea, and for democracy to be embraced.
The Catholic Archbishop of Asmara and a small congregation gathered to welcome the clerics after their release.
Eritrea has not held a national election since it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1991.
It has been ruled since then by President Isaias Afwerki. His regime has been accused of human rights abuses – including violating religious rights.
The bishop had been detained since 15 October after he returned to the capital, Asmara, from a trip to Europe.
In 2019, the authorities shut Catholic-run schools and hospitals, saying that religious bodies could not run such institutions.
Catholics make up about 4% of Eritrea’s population. The church is one of only four religious groups allowed to operate in Eritrea, along with the Eritrean Orthodox, Evangelical Lutheran, and Sunni Muslim groups.
Source : BBC