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7 Countries That Still Kill “Witches”

7 Countries That Still Kill “Witches”
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You know how the long-ago witch hunts were stupid and hateful? What a relief those days are over.

Except they’re not. In many countries, people are still killed on suspicion of witchcraft. United Nations experts cautioned in 2009 that murders of women and children accused of sorcery were on the rise. Following are just a few of many examples from around the world.

1. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s religious police department has an official Anti-Witchcraft Unit that it dispatches to catch sorcerers and break their spells. In 2007, the Saudis executed an accused sorcerer. A woman awaiting the death penalty for alleged witchcraft died in prison.

Like the New England witch hunters of yore, those in Saudi Arabia use magic as a convenient excuse to silence inconvenient people. Accusations of sorcery have been leveled against foreign women working as domestics for Saudi families who charge their employers with sexual assault, according to Saudi Arabia expert Christoph Wilcke.

2. Tanzania

This east African country killed approximately 600 elderly women on charges of witchcraft just two years ago. The Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life found a strong and pervasive belief in magic among Tanzanians. It sometimes leads to reverence rather than murder. One woman who claims to be a witch charges between $20 and $120 for services including medical cures and exorcisms — in a country where the average income is under two dollars a day.

3. Gambia

Gambia’s dictator Yahya Jammeh rounds up, tortures and kills his citizens under the pretext of hunting for witches. Amnesty International estimates that at least six people died after Jammeh’s minions forced them to drink a mixture of unknown substances. Dozens more hallucinated and suffered severe and lingering pain. Those who survived suffered shame from the accusation in a country where people believe in and condemn witches.

4. Nepal

Last year a mob burned an accused witch alive after a shaman said she killed a boy. Their faith in the shaman suggests that Nepalis believe that sorcery can be used for good, but the punishment for black magic is death. This year another mob beat a 45-year-old woman to death based on accusations that she cast a spell on a neighbor’s daughter. The Nepali government is not on board with killing witches: police arrested three women suspected of participating in the murder. In the past it sentenced men to 20 years in prison for killing a woman suspected of practicing black magic.

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12:23PM PDT on May 27, 2014

Breaks my heart

9:10AM PDT on Apr 11, 2014

I can't bring myself to call these foreign cultures "ignorant" for maintaining their own beliefs, I mean there could very well be crap that I do that they would find shocking and horrible; however I do agree that in too many cases, people will readily use their belief systems to give them some kind of excuse to kill or hurt someone else, and that is really wrong and sad.

8:25AM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

Horrible and so sad stories....

5:10AM PST on Jan 12, 2014

Sad but not surprising at all.

2:40PM PST on Dec 18, 2013

notice ,they are all ignorant backward countries .and I don't think they believe the people are witches.they just get there rocks off hurting people.

3:57PM PST on Nov 18, 2013

so ridiculously unnecessary and silly... to kill someone bc of some dumb superstitious nonsense ?

11:15AM PST on Nov 17, 2013

if they believe in witches then as I dabble in spell here one specially for them
Hubble bubble toil and trouble
we 21 century witches wizard do we dabble
but all those who still live in the past
you are a pain in the arse
a wish spell or a prayers
it sound all the same in every ear?


2:18PM PST on Nov 12, 2013


5:52AM PST on Nov 3, 2013

Ridiculous, are these countries still in the 16th century ?

8:07AM PDT on Nov 2, 2013

Amy L.: They'd probably try to get past her Secret Service bodyguards to assassinate her on a an official state visit to Saudi Arabia!

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