Eritrea is governed by a totalitarian regime that seeks to control every aspect of life. In 2002, the government outlawed every form of religion except Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism and the Lutheran Church. All other religious groups are illegal, and the government maintains control of approved churches. Many Christians have been arrested without warning, and imprisoned Christians are not given a trial or allowed to see their families. Conditions inside these prisons are some of the harshest in the world. Some 200 to 250 believers are believed to remain in prison, though it is unclear if all are still alive. Christian prisoners are provided meager rations and often held in shipping containers in extreme desert conditions for years. Several Eritrean Christian leaders, like Haile Nayzgi, have been imprisoned since 2004.
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