Sunday, January 20, 2013
An African couple living in Sweden have been charged with child abuse for trying to exorcise their daughter at age 10 because they thought she was a witch
The black couple, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, "think their daughter is a witch and reject the accusation" of abuse, Daniel Larson, a prosecutor in the western Swedish town of Boraas, has said. The indictment is based on three acts of abuse committed between February 2007 and February 2008. The girl, who claims that she is not the couple's biological daughter though the parents say otherwise, was beaten unconscious and forced to drink a concoction made up of a cleaning product and her own urine, according to the charge sheet. Social services removed the girl, born in 1997, from her parents' custody in 2008 and she has since been living with a foster family. The girl only recently opened up about the abuse "once she felt safe," the prosecutor said. She had been placed with the foster family because of various reports that she was not being treated well at home. Her school had among other things reported to social services that her parents treated her very differently from her brothers and sisters, for example sending her to school in dirty clothes everyday. The parents had in 2008 applied for a social welfare check to be able to afford a trip to DR Congo to exorcise the girl. The aid was refused and she was shortly thereafter placed in foster care, though the abuse was never investigated at the time.