Villagers in Central Bolivia’s Town of Colquechaca have taken justice into their own hands, burying a suspected rapist and murderer alive, alongside his alleged victim.
On June 5, 2013, a mob of 200 people in the small town located about 407 miles from the nation’s capital of La Paz, took Santos Ramos, 17, a suspect in the rape and murder of Leandra Arias Janco, 35, of the same village, bound him and took him to her funeral. After the service, they threw him — alive — into the open grave, put her coffin on top and buried them together.
Police tried to stop the mob, but residents of the town blocked the road, preventing them from getting to the burial site in time. It is unclear whether Ramos survived or not, though reportedly this type of indigenous justice usually proves fatal in Bolivia.
Also Wednesday in the same district, Potosi, villagers in the Quechua indigenous community of Tres Cruces got hold of a couple of men they believed had robbed a car and killed its driver. They reportedly stoned one to death and burned the other alive.
Indigenous justice was legalized in Bolivia by President Evo Morales in 2009, though sometimes jurisdictional lines get crossed, as in a case earlier this year of a police officer who was mistaken for a thief, and lynched by an angry mob. The out-of-uniform, off-duty officer was drinking in El Alto, Bolivia, and left the club momentarily. On his return he got confused, entered a school instead of the club and was mistaken for a thief. The angry mob called his family who pleaded for the man’s life for two hours. Finally his dead body was returned to them.