Two men burned to death over WhatsApp rumour in Mexico

Mexico, November 13, (Online): Two men were savagely beaten and set on fire after a false rumour was spread on WhatsApp about the pair being child kidnappers.
According to media, the incident began when Ricardo Flores, 21, and his 43-year-old uncle Alberto Flores were taken into custody in the small town of Acatlan, in central Mexico” for disturbing the peace. ”
The two men were taken to the police station when a rumour about them being child kidnappers and involved in organ trafficking was spread over messaging platform WhatsApp by a local man named Francisco Martinez.
The message read, “In the past few days, children aged four, eight and 14 have disappeared and some of these kids have been found dead with signs that their organs were removed.”
The message further read, “Their abdomens had been cut open and were empty. Believe me, the kidnappers are now here.”
As the men were being released, a man rang the bell in the town hall to alert locals the police were planning to release the pair, while another used a loudspeaker to ask for contributions to buy petrol to set the men on fire
Despite the police repeatedly stating Ricardo and Alberto were only minor offenders, a 150-strong lynch mob gathered at the police station.
The video which was live streamed on Facebook, showing a large group outside their cell and eventually the bars are forced open and the two men dragged out with ropes and savagely beaten.
They were then set on fire in front of a large cheering crowd, holding their phones in the air to film the grisly scene.
As men were tortured and set on fire, Ricardo’s mother, Maria started receiving Facebook messages about what was happening and eventually a link to a lifestream.
She desperately posted a comment on the lifestream saying: “Please don’t hurt them, don’t kill them, they’re not child kidnappers.”
Four people have been charged with murder of Ricardo and Alberto while a further five people, including Martinez, who broadcast the lifestream, the man who asked for petrol, and the man who rang the bells, have been charged with instigating the murder.
Four other suspects are on the run, the police said.
In a statement, local prosecutors “ruled out that the deceased had participated in some crime”.
The local governor Martha Erika Alonso said the stretched local police had been unable to protect the men.
“I strongly condemn the lynching that has arisen. It is inadmissable to do justice by one’s own hand,” she said.
ENDS/ONLINE/SN/SM

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