Freed Pastor Arrested for Meeting Religious Leaders at His Home in Mexico

An evangelical pastor was freed by an indigenous Catholic community in Chiapas, southeast part of Mexico after he held a meeting with religious leaders at his house, his family reported Tuesday.

Pastor Manuel López Collazo was arrested on Saturday afternoon in the municipality of San Juan Chamula when he was having a meeting with his relatives and 13 guests after a baptism event in Pujiltic, another municipality.

Another Pastor, Jesús Hernández, a witness of the event, said that the Traditionalist Catholics were responsible for the arrest and were led by the former mayor of Chamula Gomez Domingo Diaz and some other authorities of the community.

“We were going to Jolzemen when the former mayor asked López Collazo why he had brought guests if he knew there was an act in which they agreed that it was prohibited,” he added.

After they took the pastor and his guests to a school, where they discussed what measure they should take, the traditionalists decided to arrest him and send him to the county jail.

According to Univision, the authorities have had imposed a fine of approximately $3,000 (42,000 pesos) for violating the terms of the internal agreement of the community where there is a strong religious tradition that combines Catholicism with other pre-Hispanic beliefs.

Mexican laws recognize the autonomy of the indigenous communities to impose agreements and rules of justice in their territories.

Pastor López Collazo said that he wouldn’t pay the fine because he thinks this is unjust and that he was innocent.

“It is unfair and I don’t have this amount of money,” he said to the local media.

However, his brother Javier Collazo Gomez reported later that the pastor was freed after signing a promissory note to 42,000 pesos to be paid within two months.

The state of Chiapas has one of the highest numbers of conflicts due to religious intolerance in the country, according to the National Committee for Human Rights.

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