LA PAZ – Three brothers were tortured and buried alive by peasants in the central Bolivian province of Cochabamba for allegedly killing an area resident, authorities said Wednesday.
Police told ATB television they recovered the bodies Tuesday after being alerted by the victims’ families about the lynching in Watallani, a village some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Cochabamba city.
It took police nearly two hours to unearth the bodies from a ditch where they were found.
Basilio, Sabino and Bonifacio Espinoza were killed for allegedly murdering farmer Miguelino Delgado, but police say Delgado might have accidentally choked to death while drinking with the three brothers.
The Espinozas were seized Monday night by a mob of 60 people who pummeled them with stones, clubs and whips before burying them alive, according to press accounts.
Four police officers were tortured and killed in May by peasants in the western province of Potosi who accused the cops of crimes including murder.
Bolivian prosecutors have won convictions this year for the 2004 lynching of a mayor and for the vigilante killings of three policemen in 2008.
While the groups that carry out lynchings often claim to be administering “communitarian justice,” that argument is rejected by President Evo Morales – Bolivia’s first Indian president – and by indigenous organizations.
Morales signed into law in June a measure extending institutional recognition to “indigenous justice,” but authorities have yet to define the jurisdictional boundaries between the indigenous and Western systems of justice. EFE