28 Colombian Christians detained for refusing to denounce their faith

By December 23, 2009

Colombia (MNN) — 28 indigenous
Colombian Christians have been imprisoned since October for refusing to
denounce their faith. 

Logan Maurer with
International Christian Concern says the central government gave local governors relative
autonomy. "They have devolved power to a governor there who has outlawed
Christianity. He has said that if anybody there is a Christian, they're going
to go to prison."  

With that announcement, the local
governor over the Kogui (ko-gee) called
the Christians together on October 27th. "He was holding a meeting to
discuss this issue," said Maurer, "and he surprised these Christians by saying, 'You're all
under arrest.'"  

The governor wants them to
maintain more of the traditional identity to the tribal region, which includes
animism. The group is still being held
because they refuse to reconvert.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide
says at last report, two of the kidnapped infants were seriously ill. The
governor and his allies also humiliated non-Christian leaders who had supported
the Christians in the community and protected them from being expelled.

What's especially odd about this
case is that the Colombian government has apparently refused to act on 
behalf of the Christians. That's prompting outcry from
human rights watchdog groups. Maurer
adds that the Colombian government is "willing to ignore its own Constitution and
its international agreements, including the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, the ICCPR, the ICSECR, and the American Convention on Human Rights–all
of which explicitly protect the right of individuals to choose their own
faith and to convert of their own free will."

ICC remains concerned about what
this means for other believers. Maurer explains, "There's over 100
individuals that consider themselves Christians and would be affected. If this
governor continues to imprison men, women and children, as he has done, you
could be looking at up to 100 people in prison for their faith."

Pray for the release of
these believers. Pray that their captors will see the love of Christ and repent. Pray for other Christian members of the Kogui
community under fire in Colombia.

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