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El Alto, Bolivia, to cut off hands of thieves, castrate rapists

Jill LangloisGlobalPost.com

Thieves will have their hands amputated and rapists will be chemically castrated under a controversial new law for Bolivia's indigenous people in the city of El Alto.

Trained doctors will be paid to operate on convicted criminals in El Alto after they have been sentenced by a newly created court, according to the New York Daily News. If medical professionals refuse to perform the surgery, indigenous doctors from the rural, highland provinces will be paid to do the work.

Carmelo Titirico, leader of the National Council for Ayllu and Marka People, said the controversial punishment has been approved by the indigenous community "as it's the only way to stop those crimes," the Daily News also reported. "Indigenous justice is handled differently, not between four walls as ordinary justice is. We will not be sending people to jail in these cases."

Titirico noted that the new punishments are protected under Bolivia's "community justice law," reported Fox News. Under President Evo Morales, Bolivia is considered a plurinational state, permitting the existence of multiple political communities and constitutional asymmetry.

He insists that his council won't back down on its ruling, even though the measure could lead to widespread anger among the area's indigenous peoples.