LA PAZ – A mob hung a 24-year-old man in a town on the Bolivian altiplano on Monday after beating him and accusing him of committing a murder last weekend, a prosecutor and other local officials said.
Prosecutor Javier Taboada told Erbol radio in La Paz that the lynching was carried out in the Andean tourist community of Sorata, where “enraged people” whipped and beat for two hours two men they accused of knifing to death the owner of a pizzeria on Sunday night.
Local residents on Sunday night seized two men and accused them of the attack, but the men at first denied any involvement.
Nevertheless, it was not long before they each blamed the other for the murder, according to the statements of residents quoted by the radio station.
One of the accused, identified as Jose Pari Chino, 24, “first was poisoned (by the angry mob), but since he continued to live he was then hung,” according to witnesses, while the other man, age 20, was saved by relatives but is currently being held in jail.
Twenty anti-riot police from La Paz were dispatched to Sorata to protect the arrested man, who sustained injuries from being beaten and burned by members of the crowd, Taboada said.
Last week, a bricklayer who was making repairs to crypts and graves in a cemetery in the city of Santa Cruz was beaten to death by five men who confused him with someone who had been desecrating graves.
Lynchings in Bolivia have become a matter of concern for the authorities and they have also attracted the attention of institutions such as the People’s Ombudsman and international U.N. human rights entities.
The people who undertake to lynch suspected criminals say they are acting in accord with “indigenous and community justice,” which is allowed under Bolivia’s 2009 constitution, although the authorities say that that system of justice does not include “capital punishment,” considering it – rather – to be murder.