(Charisma News) — International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that seven Evangelical Christians in Chiapas, Mexico, were incarcerated on December 15 after refusing to convert to Catholicism. State and federal authorities had been informed of threats to illegally expel or incarcerate members of the Evangelical community weeks in advance but have refused to intervene.
The imprisonment comes as the culmination of an ultimatum that was given by local officials of Leyva Velazques, a municipality of Las Margaritas, Chiapas, to the local Evangelical community to convert to Catholicism, leave the village, or face prison.
According to Luis Herrera, Director of the Coordination of Christian Council of Churches, eight families in the village have succumbed to the ultimatum and signed documents indicating their conversion to Catholicism. Mexico’s Constitution explicitly protects the right of all citizens to profess and practice the religious belief of their choice. The seven who are currently jailed have refused to convert.