Home Latin America Sebastian Woodroffe: Peru orders arrest of two men over lynching

Sebastian Woodroffe: Peru orders arrest of two men over lynching

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A judge in Peru has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the lynching of a 41-year-old Canadian man in the remote Amazon region last week.

A video uploaded to social media showed Sebastian Woodroffe lying in a puddle while two men put a rope around his neck and then dragged him along.

Police later found his body buried in a shallow grave.

A local prosecutor says Mr Woodroffe may have been killed because locals suspected him of murdering a healer.

Shaman's murder

The spiritual healer, 81-year-old Olivia Arévalo from the Shipibo-Conibo indigenous group, was shot dead outside her home on Thursday.

While no-one witnessed the killing and the murder weapon has not been found, her family blamed Mr Woodroffe for her murder, prosecutor Ricardo Jiménez said.

Mr Jiménez says that the family alleges that Mr Woodroffe was angry at Ms Arévalo for refusing to conduct a spiritual ceremony in which the hallucinogenic drug ayahuasca is used.

Read more about ayahuasca:

According to his own fundraising site, Mr Woodroffe wanted to change careers and become an addiction counsellor using hallucinogenic medicine.

He had travelled to Peru to do an apprenticeship with Shipibo healers, who have been using ayahuasca in their spiritual ceremonies for centuries.

Locals said he turned to Ms Arévalo for help and instruction.

Mr Jiménez said police were also investigating a number of other possible leads in Ms Arévalo's murder, including the theory that she may have been killed by another foreigner over an unpaid debt.

Police are also still investigating who else may have been involved in Mr Woodroffe's lynching.

The video showed a number of people standing by watching the crime unfold.

Remote areas of the Amazon have a very thin police presence and crimes often go unpunished. Communities sometimes bypass the police altogether, choosing to punish those they suspect of committing crimes themselves.

Original Article

BBC

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