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ECUADOR

Judicial CP - May 2003



The Star, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 11 May 2003

Stripped, whipped for cheating

GUAMANLOMA (Ecuador): Two women were publicly stripped, beaten and whipped with nettles by Indian villagers in a form of vigilante justice allowed under Ecuadorean law. The women, who villagers say tried to swindle them, remained behind bars on Friday. 

Maria Elena Guanga, 37, and Paola Tuz, 27, were grabbed by villagers in this small mountain town, some 110km south of Quito, shortly after they began trying to pass off fake winning lottery tickets in exchange for money and household appliances on Wednesday. 

The villagers forced them to strip down to their underwear before whipping them with nettles, dousing them with cold water and locking them into a small room overnight. 

At noon on Thursday, the two were "tried'' in a school courtyard before some 2,000 Indians from nearby communities. 

The women - both from Quito - wept as they begged for forgiveness and acknowledged that they had tried to deceive the villagers. 

The two, still in their underwear, were then forced to march through the village in front of the assembled Indians who insulted and humiliated them. 

Two Indians, dressed in ponchos and wide-brimmed felt hats, covered the women's faces with scarves before dousing them with gasoline and threatening to set them on fire. The women were whipped again with nettles and forced to roll around on a pile of the prickly bushes. 

Ecuador's judicial system allows indigenous communities that are not served by police forces to apply vigilante justice as a form of "traditional law.'' Public humiliation and beatings are a common, old form of punishment in isolated Andean villages. - AP  

1995-2002 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)




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