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The Voice of the Martyrs was pleased to learn of the release of at least 20 men falsely accused of participating in a massacre in Chiapas state, Mexico in December 1997. The release of the men, most of them evangelical Christians, came after Mexico's Supreme Court ruled in a 4-1 decision on August 12 that they had been convicted in unfair trials in which prosecutors fabricated testimony and illegally obtained evidence. As Compass Direct noted in their August 13 report, "area evangelicals view the imprisoned Christians as caught between survivors clamoring for convictions and government police and military forces eager to shift blame away from their minions following the Dec. 22, 1997 killing of 45 civilians in Acteal village."

"Acteal is a double tragedy," attorney Javier Cruz Angulo reportedly said after the ruling. "On the one hand you have an abominable massacre, and on the other more than 50 human beings imprisoned without proofs." The Supreme Court justices stated clearly that they were not ruling on the guilt or innocence of the men, only on the violation of due process. According to Compass Direct, the court will review the cases of another 31 men convicted in connection with the killings, and six more will be given new trials. For more information on this very difficult case of injustice, see the December 21, 2007 report from Compass Direct.

Thank God for the release of these men after so long. Pray that the remaining prisoners will soon come to trial and be released as well. Pray for safety for those who have been released. There have been threats of violence in their home communities near San Cristobal de las Casas and some reportedly have no home to go back to.

For more information on the difficulties that Christians face in regions of Mexico, click here.