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Evangelical Pastors Jailed In Nicaragua

by | Tue, Feb 27 2024

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An American missionary and evangelist who last year drew huge crowds to his Christian crusades in Nicaragua has now been forced to go to Washington D.C. to meet US lawmakers and government officials to urge them to pressure the government of the Central American nation to release his ministry’s jailed pastors.

The founder of Mountain Gateway ministries Britt Hancock said State Department officials are very concerned over the persecution of Christians in Nicaragua. It was initially focused on the Catholic Church, but more recently Mr. Hancock’s evangelical church has been targeted.

CBN News reports Mr. Hancock and his son Jacob and daughter-in-law Cassie have been charged with money laundering and having links to organised crime. “We’re totally innocent of those charges. Money laundering – there has to be a crime on the front end to obtain the money illegally, and so all of the money that we put into Nicaragua came from our donor base. So there’s no underlying crime there, and we certainly are not organised crime bosses,” he protested to the Christian broadcaster.

The Hancocks managed to flee from Nicaragua before being arrested, but 11 of their local pastors have been jailed, including a mother of young children. “My heart is completely broken for Marisela, just knowing that she’s sitting in a prison cell away from her babies. She’s like a sister to me, and she’s been an aunt to my kids. She just gave birth to her baby boy at the end of September,” Cassie Hancock told CBN News.

It’s an about-face by the Socialist government of President Daniel Ortega which last year welcomed Mountain Gateway as its rallies drew up to one million people in total.

Religious Freedom Institute President Dr. Eric Patterson describes the situation in Nicaragua as very bad. “What’s happening, on the one hand, is we’ve seen the leadership of the Catholic Church routinely attacked, imprisoned, stripped of their citizenship, and we’re seeing this increasingly targeting evangelicals as well,” he explained.