A Mexican man was allegedly beaten and imprisoned in his hometown on Easter Sunday by a mob of Catholics who attacked him because of his evangelical faith, according to claims by a Christian rights group.
Lauro Nunez had already been exiled from his hometown, the village of Chachalas in the overwhelmingly Catholic state of Oaxaca. On March 27, Nunez returned to his hometown to visit his mother when he was set upon and "brutally beaten by a mob of villagers," the Washington-based International Christian Concern said.
The mob imprisoned Nunez and two people who tried to intervene, then ransacked his mother's home, according to ICC. The group does not cite a police report or provide a source for the information.
ICC said the Nunez case is "the latest instance of persecution among many" the group has documented. The group "believes there to be a conservative estimate of a minimum of 150 current cases of persecution throughout Mexico, involving a handful to 150 victims each."
Other groups, like Christian Solidarity Worldwide, have documented similar cases in which Mexican nationals have been exiled from their homes for their religious beliefs. Christian and religious freedom advocacy groups have tried to broker deals with the Mexican government and local leaders, such as an early February deal that allowed two Pentecostal men to return to the village of Chichiltepec after a 10-month exile. In that case, the group said, the victims were kicked out of their community after refusing to renounce their faith.
A 2015 story by Baptist Press blames "traditionalist" Catholic communities "who practice a blend of Roman Catholicism and indigenous customs" and persecute religious minorities.
In the Oaxaca case, the ICC said a nonprofit Christian group was providing pro-bono legal representation to Nunez and his fellow prisoners.