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World News

Still no sign of pastor one year after kidnapping

A leading persecution watchdog has called on the Mexican government to renew its investigations into the abduction of protestant Pastor Aarón Méndez Ruiz and his co-worker Alfredo Castillo de Luna, who were kidnapped from the migrant shelter where they worked a year ago. 

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Ruiz and Castillo de Luna were taken form the AMAR migrant shelter on 3rd August 2019, after the pastor attempted to stop an organised crime group from kidnapping Cuban asylum seekers. The men have not been seen since. 

Last October, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) called on the Mexican Government to "determine the whereabouts or destination” of the pair. Since then, no progress has been made in the investigation. 

CSW is now re-issuing the call for more to be done to locate the men.

The group's chief executive Mervyn Thomas said: “It has now been a year since Pastor Méndez Ruiz and Mr Castillo de Luna were kidnapped by an organised criminal group because of their work assisting and protecting vulnerable migrants. The Mexican government must do more to ensure that questions over the two men’s whereabouts are answered by renewing investigations into this case and ensure that the issues of impunity in cases such as this and lack of protection for religious leaders are addressed.

"We also call on the international community to raise this case and other violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief with Mexico at every opportunity.”

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