Two Mexican Protestants who were imprisoned and then expelled from their community for refusing to renounce their faith have been allowed to return to their homes with a guarantee of full religious freedom.

Casto Hernández, 31, and his cousin Juan Placido Hernández, 26, of the United Pentecostal Church of Mexico, were imprisoned by officials in Chichiltepec for allegedly celebrating non-Roman Catholic rites in Casto’s home. While they were being held, they were put under pressure to renounce their Protestant faith.

Lawyers argued that they were shown religious intolerance, and showed evidence including a 40-minute video of the assembly at which Casto Hernández was pressured to renounce his faith.

Dr. Jorge Lee Galindo of the Mexican religious freedom organisation, Impulso 18, said: “We hope that this case will set a precedent in Mexico and contribute to an overall change in culture, where the law is applied correctly, and religious freedom for all, as protected in our constitution and in the various international treaties to which Mexico is party, is upheld.”

Last year, 12 families in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas returned to their homes after five years of exile imposed by village elders and authorities for leaving the ‘traditionalist’ church.

World Watch Monitor has reported too on the pressures faced in places like Mexico, which is in the recent World Watch List 2016 at No. 40 of the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.

Sources: CSW, ICC