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ICC Note:

Anti-cult legislation in Argentina has been manipulated in the past to target churches and pastors in Argentina, to threaten their freedom of religion or belief. Now, two of those victims, Pastor Marcelo Nivea and one of his parishioners, barely escaped an attempt on their lives.

10/29/2014 Argentina (CSW)-Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling for a full investigation and charges to be brought against those responsible for the attempted murder of Baptist Pastor Marcelo Nieva in Río Tercero, Cordoba Province, Argentina.

Pastor Nieva, who leads the Pueblo Grande Baptist Church which works with victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking and drug addicts, was shot at multiple times while driving in Río Tercero on the evening of 21 October along with church member Daniel Carreño. They were not wounded.

However, a group of national and provincial Baptist leaders in Argentina have expressed alarm at the attack, pointing out that the attempted murder of the pastor is the latest and most severe instance of a pattern of threats and harassment. In a joint statement, the group, which includes the Argentinian Evangelical Baptist Convention and the Association of Evangelical Baptists Churches of the Province of Cordoba, directly accused “narco-trafficking linked assassins who have infiltrated the Cordoba Police and out of revenge [have targeted him] because of his pastoral work and the earlier complaint he filed about them to the Federal Court of Cordoba.”

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “We were disturbed to receive news of the attempted murder of Pastor Marcelo Nieva and the attack on his vehicle while he was driving with a member of his church. This is the culmination of a long campaign of harassment and attacks on Pastor Nieva and his church, and we are concerned that impunity will only embolden those responsible. We thank the Argentinian Federal Government for the protection it has assigned to Pastor Neiva and the church, but call on government officials to do more to ensure that these kinds of attacks do not happen again. We also call on the government to repeal the anti-cult legislation which has been manipulated to target this pastor and church and constitutes a serious threat to freedom of religion or belief in Argentina.”

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