Twelve arrested for sorcery in Haiti

Tue, 25 Feb 1997

[Corbett comments: What I found especially interesting in this report is that if the Jacmel authorities are to be believed, the main reason for the arrest was to protect these folks from mobs who we moved by some rumor.]

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuter) - Twelve Haitians were arrested for witchcraft, drawing large crowds into the streets and spurring rumors of cannibalism, kidnapping and organ-selling, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

Authorities said the 12 were arrested Sunday in Jacmel for ''public disturbances, sorcery and association with scoundrels'' and were being kept in custody for their own safety. A huge crowd gathered after the arrests amid rumors that the detainees kidnapped people to eat them and sell their organs.

``It isn't true at all,'' Jacmel Departmental Director Paul Antoine Sauvignon said. He said he was holding the 12 only because five weapons cartridges were found in their house. ``We also arrested them because the population was ready to rip their house apart.''

One of those arrested said in a statement they were innocent practioners of voodoo, Haiti's most popular religion. Haitian National Police said Tuesday they could be released unless local authorities in the southern port city were able to provide evidence against them.

``There is not any proof against them'' on the charges of kidnapping and sorcery, Haitian National Police spokesman Felder Jean-Baptiste said.


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