The rape and mutilation of a nine-year-old Bolivian girl with down syndrome has spurred activists and sympathizers to demand justice.
"We are concentrated in front of the Departmental Prosecutor's Office of Chuquisaca, demanding justice for this shameful act against a nine-year-old minor with down syndrome who was sold sexually and brutally assaulted," said Norma Navarro, vice president of the Down Syndrome Foundation of Chuquisaca.
In the city of Sucre, a man sexually abused the girl then physically maimed her to prevent her from calling for help, police report. The suspect is now being held in the San Roque jail on charges of aggravated rape.
"In addition to having raped her, the man cut her tongue so she could not tell her parents," the municipal director of Sucre's Social Development department, Nelly Toro, said. "I interviewed the community head. We are shocked."
President Evo Morales has condemned the abuse and offered his support to the family. "Our deep consternation and firm condemnation in the case of a minor allegedly raped and mutilated in Sucre," Morales posted on Twitter.
"The aggressor is being investigated and will be punished to the full extent of the law. Propositioning a helpless girl is a vile and cowardly act. We support the victim and her family."
Members of the Down Syndrome Association of Sucre took to the streets, demanding the court deliver the maximum sentence possible as well as calling on authorities to better protect citizens from physical and psychological abuse.
In a statement from the Defensoría del Pueblo Chuquisaca, Ombudsman Department official Edwin Martinez also offered his apologies to the victim's family and said the legal proceedings would be closely monitored. The victim is reportedly receiving care from legal, psychological and social professionals.
The Prosecutor's Office said 726 sexual abuse reports and 37 cases of infanticide were registered in Bolivia between January and June of last year.