Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has received reports that two Orthodox deacons were murdered by people traffickers in the Sinai Desert on 11 December.
The two deacons were singled out for punishment because their captors believed they were instrumental in alerting human rights NGOs of the plight of over 250 refugees and asylum seekers from Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia who have been imprisoned for over a month in degrading conditions by Bedouin people traffickers in the Sinai Desert. The traffickers are demanding payment of up to US$8,000 per person for their release despite charging them US$2,000 for passage to Israel.
The deacons were among 100 Eritrean refugees who had been separated from the group on 10 December. Prior to the move, the traffickers tore up the refugees’ religious materials and assaulted them severely for failing to make the ransom payments. Agenzia Habeshia also reports that others in the group were beaten, tortured and forced to drink their own urine after being denied water. There are also reports of organ harvesting and of some pregnant women being forced to undergo abortions.