Eritrean Christians fleeing persecution in their homeland are facing imprisonment, torture, beatings and sexual assault in Egypt, reports Barnabas Fund.

The charity, which supports the persecuted church worldwide, estimates that hundreds of Eritrean Christian refugees have been subjected to terrible abuse after arriving in Egypt.

Egypt is the most popular destination for Christians escaping from Eritrea, one of the most hostile countries in the world for followers of the faith.

In Eritrea, Christians and evangelicals in particular are viewed as a threat to national security because of their allegiance to God before the state.

As a result, many of them are tortured and imprisoned for their faith in conditions described by Barnabas Fund as “horrendous”.

Persecution has intensified in recent months after an Eritrean governor ordered a purge against Christians at the end of 2010.

The charity said hundreds of Eritrean Christians were risking their lives each month to enter Egypt, where they go in the hope of eventually being able to cross the border into Israel.

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