Woman Burned Alive After ‘Witch’ Claim

Sky News, November 5, 2014

An indigenous woman accused of being a witch has been tied to a wooden pole, shot with arrows and then burned alive in Paraguay.

Adolfina Ocampos, 45, was allegedly killed after sorcery claims by members of the Mbya Guarani indigenous community after being sentenced to death last week by the group’s chief.

Her “execution” was described as “out of the ordinary” and “isolated” by an expert despite a UN report claiming thousands of people worldwide are accused of being witches every year.

The UN says they are often abused, cast out from their families and communities and sometimes killed.

Nine men in the village of Tahehyi, 180 miles north of the capital Asuncion, have been charged with first-degree murder.

Prosecutor Fany Aguilera said they have admitted killing the woman.

Jose Zanardini, an Italian anthropologist and Catholic priest, said: “I’ve been working in Paraguay for 40 years and I can’t remember a similar episode of an execution for alleged sorcery.

“The tragic death of this woman is isolated and out of the ordinary within the coexistence of Paraguay’s 20 ethnic indigenous groups.

“In general, the Indians are very peaceful and tolerant.”

The state agency for the protection of indigenous peoples has criticised Ms Ocampos’ killing.

It said: “Although the indigenous communities are ruled by customary law, their acts cannot violate the constitutional rights of respecting the life and the liberty of people.”

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