The suspect in a woman's rape and murder was buried alive by Bolivian villagers Wednesday night, inside the grave of the woman who was believed to be his victim.
Police had identified Santos Ramos, 17, as the possible culprit in the attack on 35-year-old Leandra Arias Janco Sunday in a Quechua community near the municipality of Colquechaca, said Jose Luis Barrios, the chief prosecutor in Potosi province where the community is located, the Associated Press reported.
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Enraged, more than 200 community members seized Ramos and buried him alive alongside his alleged victim Wednesday night, according to Barrios. He said residents on Thursday blocked the road to the community, preventing police and prosecutors from reaching it.
A local reporter for an indigenous radio station, who would only speak on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, told The AP that Ramos was tied up at the woman's funeral. Mourners threw him into the open grave, placed the woman's coffin in it and filled the grave with earth.
Colquechaca is a town of 5,000 inhabitants located 207 miles (333 kilometers) southeast of Bolivia's capital, La Paz.
Also in Potosi, residents of the Quechua indigenous community of Tres Cruces on Wednesday stoned to death a suspected thief and burned his accomplice alive, Barrios said. The official said the two had earlier robbed a car and killed its driver.
Lynchings sometimes occur in rural and poor parts of Bolivia where police and other authorities are scarce.
Late last year, in the Bolivian city of El Alto, convicted rapists and thieves faced a new law that allowed for castration and hand amputation, respectively, if found guilty by the nation’s indigenous population.
Bolivia’s "community justice law" allows indigenous peoples to enact their own penalties in addition to the nation’s legal system.
According to the new law, convicted rapists will be chemically castrated by medical professionals.
If physicians should refuse to perform the procedure, indigenous doctors with less training will be brought in from rural provinces to carry out the task.
Chemical castration involves the administration of medication that reduces a person’s libido and sexual activity.
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Also, thieves who are found guilty at least three times will have one of their hands cut-off according to the new law.
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