Eugenio Nij, a Church of Christ pastor in San Raymundo, Guatemala, was released from prison July 28 after charges against him in connection with a mob-beating death of a suspected baby snatcher were dropped.

Nij had been arrested March 23 and accused of inciting a riot that left the alleged kidnapper dead and another badly injured (CT, May 19, 1997, p. 54). The two women had been captured by local citizens and several hours later dragged from the town jail and beaten by a mob. Nij had tried to calm the crowd.

After a thorough investigation, which included informants in the prison observing Nij's activities and visitors, the prosecutor concluded that the accusations, which included murder, attempted murder, and destruction of property, were groundless.

During his 126 days in jail, Nij conducted regular services for inmates along with personal evangelism and counseling. More than 200 prisoners became Christians under his influence, according to a report to the prosecution by informants.

Nij, a pastor in San Raymundo for 12 years, has been active in community health, literacy, and water supply projects, and he has plans to start a hospital for the town.

The Nij family credits the prayers of people around the world who had been alerted by E-mail for his release. "I was able to get through it all because the Lord sustained me," Nij says.

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