You have to admit, there’s a certain justice:
Police had identified 17-year-old Santos Ramos 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.
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.
I’m not without sympathy, given the atrocity inflicted on the woman. Still, it sounds like this was done after the man was only identified as a suspect, not convicted in a court of law where he would have been able to present a defense. This isn’t (just) sanctimony on my part: the Rule of Law, under which life and property are protected for all and everyone gets their day in court, is essential to national stability and prosperity. Without it, you simply have mob rule, the stronger dominating the weaker, and the near-anarchy of a Hobbesian state of nature.
And trial by lynch-mob.
To be fair, the Bolivian court system in Bolivia is corrupt, and the villagers may well have felt that they would never have received justice and so had to take it into their own hands. Like I wrote, I can sympathize, even if I don’t approve. (In fact, the villagers should be prosecuted, but, being Bolivia, the government probably doesn’t want a regional revolt on its hands.)
On another note, what an ending for a horror story, straight out of Poe or Machen: buried alive with your victim, whose spirit may be looking for her own justice…