Eritrea's Chronic State of Impunity
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
This report is a firsthand, clear and convincing evidence of crime of confession for the various gross human rights violations which have been committed so far by the Eritrean regime against innocent Eritreans. It is an epitome of miscarriage of justice in Eritrea; and a proof of chronic state of impunity in Eritrea.
It is a situation where a monkey is judging in the affairs of a forest. In fact in this case there is no even a mock trial or a Kangaroo court. This report was orchestrated after the 'convicted' had already spent 8 years in hard prison. Their families have no right to visit them let alone to get a proper and fair trial. Their only crime is being members of the Pentecostal (Charismatic) Church. And their 'verdict' is Pastor Leul Gebreab 14 years and Pastor Simon Tekle 12 years in hard prison.
This police report was first published by the Eritrean regime's Police Department official magazine, "People and Police No. 55" in Tigrinya language; and here is the English translation:
People and Police NO. 55
Archives of Investigation
Vial of Poison
Captain Berhane Zekarias
Dear beloved man of God Leul, is it not that you are entitled to be an Apostle after you could be able to carry out your appointed responsibility in a word of truth? An Apostle expels darkness from many.
Dear father! I could boldly say my father, because you have helped me to start and walk in the journey of victory and remove many veils from my life. I feel proud that when you have been called my spiritual father
My heart leaps in greater joy not only because the omnipotent Lord is shielding me by being my helper and comforter in this place, but also I am remembered in prayer in the heart of an Apostle and a great man of God like you
Dear father! Our present situation is full of misery. You do not know when the sun arise and goes down. Time passes from Monday to Sunday very quickly. The same with our strength and precious time. The work we do is not fruitful. We demolish the one we have built for weeks and again we rebuild it. We relearn the education we already have learnt. Repetitive military training, repetitive education, repetitive meeting. In short all is monotonous
All the leaders here are illiterate in English, they do not even properly write the Tigrinya language. They prepare their reports by the help of the newly military trainees. To have the statistics of the newly recruits in itself is a very complex issue for them
They teach us in political education class by saying that, 'A human being becomes intelligent not because of education.' In short they want a person to live in permanent ignorance. What could I say more to you about their deeds, the list is endless.
Leul was memorizing over and over again this specific letter which was sent to him from a member of his faith and he was in deep thought seemingly worried of his crime. At that moment his prison cell door suddenly opened and he raised up from where he had lain down.
He was called by the prison officer who was on duty while he was thinking in his mind that what to reply to challenging questions which might be asked by the Police interrogator.
He thought to himself, I might be to the interrogation room... And the prison officer who had opened the door gave him an order to come out of his prison cell. When he entered to the interrogation room, he rolled his eyes left to right and sat in the chair which had been prepared for him.
The Police interrogator had no doubt that, the mission and goal of God is here which was led by Apostle Leul, was to cause mayhem upon the people and the nation by giving poison to the youth which could undermine nationalism and destroy social values.
Are you Leul Gebreab Asfaha? he politely asked him to confirm the accuracy.
Yes You are right, he replied by nodding his head in agreement.
The Police interrogator, beyond what could be externally perceived, as if he was examining an inner sentiment, in order to hear it from himself concerning the depth of the doctrine which Leul was charged with, he asked him again, Why are you in prison?
I am in prison because I left my former religion and became an adherent of a Charismatic faith; and also I preached by gathering the youth. Leul replied by confirming that what he was doing was what he still strongly believe in and a right principle.
The Police interrogator despite what Leul had replied he remembered that he was actively involved: in religious upheaval; in recruiting the youth without any kind of permission and unlawfully; and in preaching in all kind of place.
Is it right for you to be involved in this unlawful act? he asked him. Leul absolutely knew that, just like a cattle trespassing a neglected farm reservation, he deliberately violated the clear and unambiguous religious policy of Eritrea; and as a result he became uneasy to invent excuses.
Leul was born in 1975 in a place called Tewero in sub region Segeneity, to his father Mr. Gebreab Asfaha, and mother Ms. Meskel Kebra. His father was a teacher in Endasilasse (Trinity) Orthodox Church, thus he came to Asmara while he was only 11 years old. He finished his elementary and secondary education in different schools in Asmara. Then he learnt his religious education within the vicinity of Endasilasse church and became a deacon, correspondingly he used to preside the celebration of holy mass.
The Police interrogator properly knew his personal background history.
Therefore to assess Leul's insight about the difference between the two faiths, he asked him, Why did you abandon the religion which you had believed and served; and became a leading propagator of the 'Charismatic faith'?
Leul had participated in the youth Bible teaching program which was held from 1993 to 1997 by the members of the synod in Endasilasse church. However the above mentioned spiritual program had faced strong opposition from the public who used to live in the neighborhood as they perceived it as disruptive and threatening the unity of the people. In consequence Leul and others, both teachers and students, who had been involved in that spiritual program chased away.
Leul in order to explain his response he indicated the above mentioned scenario.
And then he responded, I was compelled to change my faith because the adherents of the Orthodox faith do not elaborate the Bible as the Charismatics do. The Police interrogator even though he realized that the dispute was not about changing ones personal religion, or trying to persuade them instead of changing ones personal religion; but rather the guilt was, not only you had preached and recruited in all kind of place in order to instill your faith in the mind of the innocent so that to confuse them; but also you had undermined other religions, disintegrated families and used religion as a cover to became a pawn of others political agenda. The interrogator knew that very well, but he had to investigate in its entirety.
He asked him, How? Leul thought that he could give a sufficient response to this question.
While the adherents of the Orthodox religion believe in God (Trinity), Jesus and Angels; on the other hand we the adherents of the Charismatic faith do not bow to angels. He replied that forgetting that he himself was once called an Apostle and bowed to and had longed to be bowed down. And concerning baptism he said to him, The adherents of the Orthodox religion without any Biblical reference but based on tradition baptize a baby girl at the age of 80 days and a baby boy at the age of 40 days; on the other hand we believe that one should be baptize at the age of maturity, participate in new believers class and of one's own will. And he said all this, knowing that there is no fundamental difference in baptism except in its technicality of age.
Apostle Leul trampled upon our religious culture of mutual respect and tolerance; and rather he preferred to rely on non essential sideshows. Accordingly by rejecting the one which his parents had baptized him, he was re-baptized in a dam called Bet-Gergish (House of Saint George) by Michael Zeray, who is currently in diaspora (his personal choice might not be a matter of urgency); however by calling himself an Apostle he baptized many men and women in Bet-Gergish dam and in the bath-tub of his friend Daniels house.
The accused Leul, although the name of the movement which he was an active believer and propagator, was known as Ecumenical but later he continued his activity by baptizing the group's name as God is here.
The Police interrogator had already registered this in his notebook.
What does 'God is here' means? he asked him to hear it from himself the reason behind the name.
It means God is here right where you are. he replied to him trying to explain any house could be used as a house of prayer.
This confirmed that in the name of prayer and giving they used to teach and raise finances in different parts of Asmara: in Abashaul, Edaga-hamus, Godaif, Vilajo and Central Business District.
The Police interrogator had clearly observed that pseudonyms like Apostle Father Leul, Leul, etc., had been written in different documents and on the back of different letters which were found in the accused house.
You are an Apostle. Am I right? he asked him expecting that he would explain how he was given that title.
Instead Apostle Leul decided to deny the stamp he used to put besides each of his signature and the name which the members of his faith used to call him.
I am not. he suddenly refuted his question. And he tried to strongly argue that he never heard a spiritual leader who had been named as an Apostle while he was alive.
The Police interrogator in order to convince him with a document, he had decided to bring files from his archive and showed him the letters which were signed and stamped in his name Apostle Leul.
How do you deny this truth? Could an Apostle lie and deny? he said to him by submitting tangible facts before him.
The accused Leul as if he was not arguing that he was not an Apostle but now because he was defeated with evidence:
Yes as my pupil used to write as such, equally I used to write and send a letter by signing as 'Apostle Leul' and put the stamp of God is here on it, he replied trying to escape from the hook which had caught him tight.
Apostle Leul despite he had tried to contradict his Apostleship by responding negatively and vaguely, however in a monthly magazine called Apostolic Rod which he used to publish and send to the members of his faith, he wrote in detail that he was an Apostle who could perform miracles. And the purpose of the magazine was in order to chastise different religions and faiths through the power of reason.
To break a curse in life Just by reading the content of an article he wrote under this title, it could not be that difficult to identify his fabricated fables and his chaotic spirit. Here is a sample of the content of this article:
... In 1998 a lady came to worship to our fellowship. And while I was preaching she heard me speaking about her religion which she did not like. Hence she became angry and left the conference. Later she testified to me that God had put a big gallstone in her body. Subsequently her sexual intimacy with her husband turn out very traumatic. And to make things worse, her husband (just like her he was not a believer at that time) was searching for another wife.
When she became hopeless, she used to wander from place to place. But finally she decided to surrender her life to the Lord in one conference. And she went to a preacher and asked him to help her. She told him all her ordeals. And when the preacher was praying for her, he told her the following through the power of the Holy Spirit:
The Lord said to me, there is a prophet whom you have harmed. You can not be free unless he lay his hand on you.
She could not remember. The sin she had committed was not known to her. There might be no one who had seen or heard. Nevertheless she was under a curse. The reason would be God had heard it. Thereupon for about two years she was under a pain.
Then this lady came to me in tears so that I could forgive her. I felt great compassion for her. But on that day I greatly feared God and I said to him:
Even though I have no knowledge about those who rise up against me, but still you want me to forgive them?
She told me what she did. Her background (before she became a member of our faith) was a Catholic, and on that day I was teaching focusing on the errors of the Catholic church. In consequence she furiously left the conference. This was her only sin.
Then I put my hand on her stomach and deeply prayed for her. Through the power of my prayer the gallstone dissolved. Her family restored. The husband get saved. And both of them became joyful members of the fellowship. But this all happened after two years of pain. And he concluded his article by appealing that one should not afflict himself by rejecting and opposing his sermon.
The Police interrogator was not surprised at all that the accused Leul had fabricated an adventurous story and played a leading role in it in order to be idolized by the members of his faith as an Apostle. Thus he continued to investigate if there were other similar dramatic events.
Did you become an Apostle by the will of the members of 'God is here' or there were other necessary requirements? he asked him to investigate if there was any electoral rule which the Ecumenical had been observed.
Apostle Leul mentioned the spiritual education he had learnt in Endasilasse church from 1993 to 1997 and his diaconate.
Basically my knowledge came from the Bible and my upbringing in the church. And also they knew me as an active servant, so they said 'let the one who has the grace lead us.' And they received me by their own good will. He replied that by demonstrating their immense obedience and respect for him.
Apostle Leul after he had completed his secondary level of education in Keih Bahri (Red Sea) Secondary School, like all other youths he went to Sawa Military Training Center in the 7th Round National Service Programme. However the Police interrogator understood that he had neglected the allegiance his swore and engaged in an underground subversive activities in order to oppose national objectives.
When did you demobilized? he asked him to know his true thoughts realizing that he was not yet demobilized.
I am still there. I did not demobilized. replied Leul in confidence, despite knowing that he had been a fugitive since the year 2000.
Apostle Leul although he himself confessed that, He was under active national military service but as it is mentioned in the beginning, just like in the letter which was written, if he said he was a spiritual leader to those citizens who postulate fulfilling national obligation as miserable and dehumanize, and also undermine the honors of struggle and national unity; who could ever misjudge him that he was a recruited agent of our enemies in order to weaken the relationship between the people and the government through his toxic sermon.
This could be easily seen in his endeavor to accomplish the missions of the Westerners, he regularly interacted with those religious groups which function behind the veil of Democracy and Freedom of Religion so that to built a strong bond with them.
The Police interrogator, just like searching inside a beehive, decided to look into the evil mission of the so called Faith Freedom.
Could you tell us when and how you started it? he asked him by opening different pages of written materials which were sent to him from foreign countries.
Apostle Leul mentioned the first interaction was made through a member of his Charismatic faith called Solomon Rezene.
I wrote to them through their website that, I read your article. I want to be your member, kindly send me your articles on monthly basis. Then they begun to send me regularly since the year 2001. He replied that by confirming that he had established a mutual solidarity like any 'political party'.
The Police interrogator recognized the power of financial funding in recruiting traitors.
Did you not request for financial assistance? he asked him by holding his pen in order to write his response.
Apostle Leul responded negatively to the question of the interrogator.
To the contrary they are the one who request payment in dollar for the magazines and brochures they send to us. He replied that thinking he responded a satisfactory answer to him.
Here are those organizations, which are mouthpieces of Westerners, whom Apostle Leul used to contact as religious organizations through a website:
Morris Cerullo of the United States of America
Benny Hinn of the United States of America
Ernest Angley of the United States of America
Acts of the United States of America
Precept Ministries of the United States of America
Njia Yu Utma of South Korea
Kenneth Ministries of the United States of America
The messages which had been sent by Apostle Leul to President Morris Cerullo and the successive response he had received are concrete exhibits which amplify the purpose of his mission. Here is a sample taken from a letter he wrote in English to Morris Cerullo in the year 2003:
... We have established an organization called Eritrea for Christ in the year 1996, which has many supporters and followers. Our vision is to impact our neighboring countries and the world.
The majority of the Eritrean population has realized that the churches in Eritrea are not giving services in a normal and proper way to their members as they have wished to do so. The reason behind this is that, it is forbidden to engage in religious programs and any person who is found praying will be arrested by the government.
Despite all this, we are remembering the Lord Jesus in prayer with courage in these difficult circumstances. This is because my Lord is our fortress.
In small group meetings we gather seven to twenty people in secret and pray. And this is not inside a church. You may recognize the hardship we are passing through from the above narrative. In spite of this, the omnipotent Lord will turn things upside down within a short time.
The majority of us are working full-time for this purpose. We have also few students. We heard much about you. And if you send us your cassettes and books, it will help us to attain our vision. Moreover, we also hope you may help us in other areas.
Leul, Your brother in the Lord
Email: Leul Eyesus
Here are samples taken from Email messages which were regularly sent to Leul:
... I am writing this to you after returning from a crucial international meeting. I remember you in my prayer. The Lord has indeed chosen you. In your journey you will not confront a sudden danger. In 2004 you will reach a level where any Apostle has never reached before. Dear friend, it is the Lord himself who told me to tell you this message. In order what I have just told you to be accomplished, you have to continuously pray and ask in the name of the Lord. Listen! The Lord will break the chain which entangles to block finances from you. This is a word of the Lord. This is a secret you should not tell to anyone but you. Lives are in danger. Including my own life. After these three glorious conferences, we will hold another two in Islamic countries. I am compelled to tell you this so that you may pray for me in order to be delivered from this hazard of warfare. Above all we may not stumble from fulfilling this mission because of lack of finances.
Your brother Morris Cerullo
... This letter is coming to you so that you may know some delicate issues. The Lord has told me in person that I may put the following words in your spirit:
1st The Lord has told me to tell you that he loves your country.
2nd The Lord has told me to tell you that Satan has no control in your country. You government knows that the Lord has given us power and authority against darkness. Therefore on my side I give you power and authority to overcome the challenges and opposition you will confront. By this no power could stand before you.
Therefore, what the Lord requires from you is only faith and acceptance. Just like the woman who had been anointed only by touching the hem of the Lord's garment, when you touch this letter which I have sent to you, your financial and other needs will be over. Next time I will send you an anointed cloth. I want also to tell you that our ministry has a healing stream. I will make an arrangement for you in order to be washed there. And as it is the Lord who has anointed it with his Divine power: it heals cancer, the blind sees, it enlightens, and cripples could walk. There is no sickness which it could not heal. It also resolves financial difficulties.
The Lords Servant
... Leul Gebreab we invite you to participate in a prayer rally called God Save America Now! which has been organized by us in relation to the Presidential election of our nation. In this year we have planned to support 12 crusades which will be held by Americans and to organize meetings in the international arena.
Morris Cerullo, President
... Open your mind and spirit now. Because the Lord is going to put an Apostolic Servanthood in your spirit. Make sure that you will participate in our 34th annual world meeting which is going to be held on January 2, 2005 in Orlando, Florida. As you are one who fight carrying the armor of God, by participating in this conference not only it changes your life and empower you; but also it will assist you to make an impact in your surrounding. The Lord wants you to be present there. Therefore I urge you again to do what is necessary in order to make a reservation for yourself as there might be a limited space. Therefore, make a booking to a hotel without delay.
The Lord's Servant
The Police interrogator had registered in the investigation log the following personal belongings of the accused as an exhibit: more than 200 spiritual books written in Tigrinya, Amharic and English languages; including a laptop, video cassettes, cds, floppy disks which contain a spiritual content. Therefore all of these evidences which were found under his custody showed that his hunger to influence the whole world.
Here is a sample of what was found in his shelf: Becoming Leader, Personal Victory, Toward Mental Exploits, Breaking Financial Hardships, Absolute Surrender, War In Heaven, Prepare For War, Governmental Prayer: The Warfare Expression of the Apostolic, etc. Just by observing these books one could distinctly visualize his dreams and desired strategy.
The Police interrogator showed to Leul a monthly magazine called Apostolic Rod which he had been briefly reading on its content.
By Whom and how did this monthly magazine published? he asked him to know the source of the publishing cost and the disbursement of the revenue.
Though I was the main editor, Simon Tekle, my wife Tsega Ouqbamichael, Samsom Tesfay, Hagos Tikabo, Lemlem Solomon, and Amanuel Habte were also coeditors. he replied to him by explaining that the magazine after being published in many copies, it used to be distributed to the believers inside the country: in Asmara, Dekemhare, Adi Keyih, Sawa, Assab and Massawa; and outside the country: in Sweden, German, Saudi Arabia, America (Seattle Washington), South Africa, Sudan, Italy and Canada.
The Police interrogator was so much anxious that Apostle Leul had been greatly brainwashed by Morris Cerullo and became highly treacherous.
Where is the source of the budget for publishing and distributing it? he asked him again.
Apostle Leul explained to him that the source was the Tithe and offerings given by the believers during teaching and other programs; and the magazine was sold inside and outside the country and used to generate income for their fellowship.
The Police interrogator through his previous questions confirmed that the monthly published magazine The Apostolic Rod, which was primary intended as a striking rod against others, was used by him as a propaganda tool in order to attain his objectives. And to achieve that goal it used to present different spiritual articles; and it used to be published and circulated in both Tigrinya and Amharic languages so that to publicize and carry out his missions.
Apostle Leul in his own word testified that, he was a salary paid employee. His salary was 1400 Eritrean Nakfa; and according to him that was decided by his wife and three other persons. He was the one who used to absolutely dictate and collect the financial proceeds of the Tithes and offerings given in each prayer meeting they held closing their eyes and day dreaming. Therefore it could be easily guess his economic and financial benefits.
The Police interrogator before he concluded his interrogation:
What was the aim of the different outlines which were ready for publishing in your documents? he asked him to know his long term intention.
Yes you are right. They are there. he replied to him, and then he explained that it was supposed to be for the sacrament of holy matrimony, marriage certificate, baby dedication ceremony, baby dedication certificate, baptism certificate, rules of tithing, principals of tithing and membership card; but it could not be published because of the circumstances.
The government of Eritrea has a clear and definite policy concerning Religious and Faith Rights as it was stated in the 1985 Draft for National Democratic Program and in the 1994 Eritrea's National Charter. And it stated that:
To protect religious and faith rights of each citizen
Separation of religion and state politics
Religious education is banned in all schools. However it allows religious organs to have institutions which conduct religious education
To strongly oppose new religious movements, which under the disguise of faith propagate that the people of Eritrea not to fight against colonialism and oppression
To crack down on those who try to divide the struggle and progress of the people of Eritrea on religious line both in times of armed struggle and in the People's Democratic of Eritrea
Nonetheless it is a known fact that those different organizations which profess they are adherents of a spiritual faith had been involved in unlawful activities which threaten the unity of the people and nation. Here is one distinct example among them:
It was established and organized in the year 1985 in Washington DC and later advanced to the third world countries. Consequently a journalist and a teacher who both had been affected by this in the Republic of Congo, where they used to live, had claim for a political asylum in Zimbabwe by appealing under a false pretense we have been banned and victimized to follow our faith. Thus in Zimbabwe in agreement with their belief, they began to indoctrinate the populace that Satanism is an umbrella for all those who had committed heinous atrocities and as a consequence ostracized from the society; and also its high priest would be the one who was the most brutal and evil-minded and soon in their conference they would sacrifice under two years old baby and supposedly would drink the blood as a holy communion and holy water. And the government of Zimbabwe condemn them in harmony with its state decree. And in the aftermath the Western world tried to denounce Zimbabwe in the name of violation of human rights.
We understood that, put aside multitude of mushroomed religions, but even political parties are futile except to drive one country in a quagmire of instability and upheaval as we have seen it in the Middle East and North Africa.
For obvious reason it is few Western countries who control large part of the world economy. These people of special interest in order to leech the natural resources of the developing countries, the simple strategy they use is Respecting Human Rights and multiplying religious organizations like an amoeba, which would be their stooges. These Westerners whom nurture this, lecture others especially third world countries to accommodate religious fundamentalism, but they themselves do not approve an iota of it in their countries, for instance, based on the radical Islamist group (ISIL), which controls large area to establish an Islamic State in Iraq, in his September 2014 Speech to the British Parliament, Prime Minister James Cameron said, Although we authorize freedom of faith based on tolerance, I want to inform and warn that, we will not turn a blind eye to those who try to destroy our dignity and endanger the hope of our future generation.
Besides, Solomon Rezene a proselyte to this faith while he was in Eritrea and who later moved to America, he had expressed his sincere feeling in a letter he sent to Leul.
When I first came here in America I used to think that everybody is devoted to prayer and goes daily to church. To the contrary when they saw me going daily and praying for many hours, they scolded me by saying that, 'Our brother, don't you have any work? Why are you always here? ...' I feel dejected and desolate as I could not find my aspiration. I even prayed so much that the Lord may send me back to Asmara.
These spiritual societies are the ones which fabricate a vial of poison laced with honey to intoxicate the minds of people in order to incapacitate a united forearm which could stand against adversity. Hence whenever any legitimate action was taken to ban them, these people of special interest always tried to shield their interests under the disguise of Human Rights Violation by imposing an overall sanction. The whole world knows that once a circle is formed trying to recreate it again is to dawdle. And religion was created many centuries ago and human beings believed and followed it with mutual respect. Tossing and turning to recreate it again is fantasy.
Simon Tekle Habte is a 3rd year student in Marine Biology College (Massawa). He is found guilty of the crime he is being charged with religious upheaval and sentenced for 12 years in prison. And he is now behind bars in Sembel Prison and Rehabilitation Center to finish his sentence. How did he commit this crime of felony which puts him in hard prison? And what is his reformed behavior after imprisonment? Here is a sample of the testimony he gave to the Police interrogator:
... It was when I was a student in the Secondary school my school mate and friend called Amanuel Habte informed me that, I should turn from left to right, into the Bible. and he guided me to be a member of this Charismatic gathering .
... When I first joined to this 'Charismatic' gathering, it was called Endasilasse and led by Habte Negash. After he went to the Diaspora the gathering had scattered all over, and small group (cell) meetings started. And I became the member of a group called God is here which was led by Leul
... The fellowship defy kissing the sacred stones. It proclaimed that, 'There is no salvation in any other except through Jesus, not in angels. Baptism ceremony was also performed, neither at forty nor eighty days, but anytime after one participated in a new believers class. These were the differences I had learnt. I could be able to realize I had joined a deviant assembly after I was taken into Sembel Prison and Rehabilitation Center
Each believer used to give a Tithe according to his/her monthly income. There were also some who willingly give more. Leul was the retainer of the finances. When I first joined to this 'Charismatic' assembly I became a blind zealot. I even forgot about the rest of the world. It would turn you to irrational and senseless human being. It was devised in order to make easy money by those leaders who had established it. In short it was an assembly which they used to enrich themselves. When I think of it now, I feel like it was a game."
Convict Simon Tekle Habte
The PDF version of this document in Tigrinya Language could be accessed here: People and Police Magazine No. 55 in Tigrinya
The PDF version of this document in English Language could be accessed here: People and Police Magazine No. 55 in English