Eritrea has released 28 members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses group after they served prison terms.

In 1994 the citizenship for all members of the church was revoked and followers are routinely imprisoned without trial.

One of the reasons given was their refusal to go on military service.

A Jehovah’s Witness statement said its members were freed from prison in Eritrea after serving sentences of between five and 26 years.

Some were detained for being conscientious objectors – in a country with compulsory military service.

The organisation says 24 members are still in prison.

President Isaias Afwerki stripped Jehovah’s Witnesses of their citizenship in 1994 – the year after he became leader of the newly independent country.

Eritrea is one of the most oppressive nations in the world – with no elections or parliament and a draft constitution that has never been implemented.

Only three religious denominations are allowed – Orthodox Christianity, Sunni Islam and the Lutheran church.

Credit: MIJ

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