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Mexico: Seven Evangelicals Jailed

Seven Evangelical Christians in Chiapas, Mexico, were imprisoned on Dec. 15 after refusing to convert to Catholicism.
According to International Christian Concern, the imprisonment comes on the heels of an ultimatum for Evangelicals to convert to Catholicism, leave the village, or face imprisonment by the village officials of Leyva Velazques in Las Margaritas, Chiapas.
Eight families in the village have signed documents declaring their conversion to Catholicism. At press time, ICC sources said other Evangelicals were being summoned before Velazques officials in order to force them to renounce their faith while both state and federal authorities refuse to intervene on their behalf.
"It is simply unconscionable for the state and federal governments of Mexico to repeatedly ignore the arbitrary arrest and expulsion of their own citizens by local governments on the basis of religious belief," said Isaac Six, ICC's Advocacy Director. "We know that the federal government -- as well as the State of Chiapas -- was warned days in advance that the Evangelical community in Leyva Velazques was under threat, yet even after seven individuals were thrown in prison for their religious beliefs, action was not taken. This blatant abdication of responsibility has, for decades now, sent the message to rural villages across Mexico that if you have a problem with someone from another faith, you can simply force them to convert or leave. Today, hundreds of men, women, and children are homeless in Mexico because they chose to follow their beliefs, and because their government refused to act...."

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