MEXICO: 'Ley de Fuga

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The lynch law of Latin American justice is the "ley de fuga" (law of flight). This is supposed to empower police to shoot fleeing prisoners, but in practice often means that a troublesome prisoner is set free, then drilled before he can scoot out of range. From León in Mexico's State of Guanajuato last week came a tale of ley de fuga perfect except in one particular.

With seven bullets in his back, Cattleman Tomas Manrique was found by pass ers-by and bundled off to a hospital. There he explained that after having been falsely arrested for stealing 50 head of cattle, he was set free in a deserted spot. Before Tomas Manrique had taken three steps toward liberty, a rattling volley cracked. He expected to make ley de juga history by recovering.