A suspect buried alive was tied up and thrown into the grave of the woman he was suspected of raping and killing in Colquechaca, Bolivia.
The suspect buried alive during the funeral of the woman killed was tossed into the grave of 35-year-old murder victim Leandra Arias Janco as a crowd of 200 people mourned her death.
17-year-old Santos Ramos, the suspect buried alive by the villagers in the area, was named by police as a possible suspect in Janco’s killing, and the Huffington Post explains that residents joined ranks not only to prevent rescuers from reaching the teen, but also to keep the vigilante act quiet:
“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.”
Vigilante killings like the one in which the teen suspect buried alive met a grim fateT are not unusual in Quechua’s indigenous community of Tres Cruces. Just this week, villagers stoned a suspected thief to death before burning his alleged accomplice in the crime, killing the man.
England’s Daily Mailreports that incidents like the suspect buried alive have been so prevalent that the government has acknowledged the issue of “indigenous justice” in Bolivia:
“Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous President, signed into law in 2009 a measure extending institutional recognition of ‘indigenous justice,’ but it’s difficult to define the boundaries between the indigenous and Western systems of justice.”
The reporter who broke the story of the suspect buried alive did not wish to be identified due to fear of reprisal.