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A Woman Was Burnt For Witchcraft. Yeah, You Read It Correctly

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A local prosecutor in Paraguay confirmed on Wednesday, November 5 that a woman was burned alive after being accused of witchcraft.

Prosecutor Fany Aguilera said that members of the Mbya Guarani ethnic group tied 45-year old Adolfina Ocampos to a wooden pole and shot arrows at her before they burned her alive.

She was sentenced to death last week in Tahehyi, a village 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of the capital, Asuncion. Aguilera has charged nine men in the village with first-degree murder, and they have already acknowledged killing the woman. A report by the UN Refugee Agency states that thousands of people are still accused of being witches every year. The UN says they are often abused, cast out and sometimes killed.

But the case here is unusual. Jose Zanardini, an Italian anthropologist and Catholic priest, said this case is isolated.

“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 said in a statement that “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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