Seychelles main opposition party leader charged with ‘witchcraft’

By bne IntelliNews October 3, 2023

Patrick Herminie, leader of the Seychelles’ main opposition party, has been indicted as part of an investigation into suspected “witchcraft” and "unnatural and superstitious" acts along with seven others, including a Tanzanian national.

He was arrested on Friday (September 29) at the headquarters of his United Seychelles Party (USP) and his office searched, before being released and brought to court on Monday, AFP reports.

The investigation is linked to the discovery in August of the unearthed bodies of an elderly woman and a young man in a cemetery on the main island of Mahé.

Herminie, who was president of the National Assembly between 2007 and 2016 and is a candidate in the 2025 presidential election, denounced the decision to indict him as political, telling local media that his prosecution is a "political show" to taint his image.

His name was found on the phone of the indicted Tanzanian national, who was reportedly arrested at Seychelles International Airport at the end of September in possession of stones, small bottles containing a brownish liquid, various powders and documents containing language and symbols described as satanic, according to the Seychelles News Agency.

Prosecutors said that the symbols on the documents were similar to others found in vandalised sites in the archipelago, including Catholic churches, the report said.

Herminie told local media that more than 40 police officers had raided his party's offices in the capital, Victoria, searched for items related to witchcraft, including "bones, body parts, and objects associated with Christianity" but did not find any. 

If found guilty, Herminie and the others could face fines. A hearing is scheduled for November 3.

"In Seychelles' history, there has never been until now, a political party leader arrested for superstition and witchcraft. This is something new and it is shameful for Seychelles," he is quoted as saying.

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