Tribal community in Colombia sentences men for murders

The indigenous guard is a volunteer, unarmed police force in the southwestern region of Colombia. Photo from Consejo Regional Indigena del Cauca

Members of a tribal community in Colombia sentenced five men to harsh prison terms for a pair of murders.

The five men, along with two minors, belong to a militant group known as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. They clashed with tribal members last week, resulting in the deaths of two Nasa men.

The community's unarmed police force quickly pursued the perpetrators and brought them to trial on Sunday. One man was given a 60-year sentence while four others were each sentenced to 40 years. The two minors were given 20 lashes in public and sent to juvenile detention.

“The sentences were very hard and drastic and serve as an example to other communities,” Gabriel Pavi, who moderated the trial, told the Associated Press. “But the people are wise, and it’s the community’s responsibility to correct any error that any villager might make.”

The Nasa community is recognized as self-governing but it would be up to authorities in Colombia to imprison the five defendants, the Associated Press reported.

Get the Story:
For Colombia’s Nasa Indians, the village lays down the law (The Miami Herald 11/10)
Colombian Indians punish rebels for killings (AP 11/10)
Colombia Indians to try guerrillas for killings (AP 11/7)

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