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ICC Note: Upper level police guards have been stationed to guard Pueblo Grande Baptist Church in the city of Tres Ríos, Argentina following increased persecution. This assignment is the first of its kind in Argentina, but a judge was urged to take action to protect the church and its members. In addition to numerous threats and acts of violence against the church, the pastor was the subject of an attempted murder in October of 2014.

08/28/2015 Argentina (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) – The National Gendarmerie, a high-level police guard, has been assigned to protect the Pueblo Grande Baptist Church and its members in Tres Ríos, Argentina.

The protection order, issued by Federal Prosecutor Maria Marta Schianni, follows a decision by the Federal Appellate Court in the province of Córdoba on 29 May, which recognised systematic discrimination against and the persecution of church members. It directed a federal judge assigned to the case to take swift action to move the case forward and to protect the church’s freedom of worship. The Federal Appellate Chamber also instructed the National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI) to open an investigation into discrimination against members of the evangelical church.

According to Reverend Marcelo Nieva, leader of Pueblo Grande Baptist Church, the assignment of 50 members of the National Gendarmerie to provide round-the-clock protection to the church and its members is unprecedented in Argentina. They replace a Federal Police detail which had been guarding the church for the last year. “The National Gendarmerie is the highest security force in the country, and this historic move shows that some officials in the government are taking the threats and acts of violence against the church and its members seriously,” Reverend Nieva told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

However, he expressed disappointment that both INADI and Roque Ramón Rebak, the judge assigned to the case whose attempts to declare the case outside of the court’s competence were rebuffed by the Federal Appellate Chamber, have failed to take any action to implement the 29 May order.

In October 2014, CSW called for a full investigation and charges to be brought against those responsible for the attempted murder of Reverend Nieva and church member Daniel Carreño after the car they were driving was shot at multiple times on 21 October 2014. They were not wounded.


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