As Emily Litella might have asked, “What’s this I hear about parents being arrested for making their child exercise?”
The mangled question would have been in response to criminal charges brought yesterday in Sweden against a couple who believed their 10-year-old daughter was a witch and that the remedy was exorcism.
The Telegraph reports that the couple, living in the town of Boraas but originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, allegedly beat the child until she was unconscious and forced her to drink a concoction made of cleaning fluid and her own urine. (For her part, the girl claims that she is not the couple's biological daughter, but that’s probably just the devil speaking.)
According to the indictment, the unnamed couple has been charged with three counts of criminal child abuse for acts committed between February 2007 and February 2008. A local daily, Boraas Tidning, notes:
[The couple] in 2008 applied for a social welfare cheque 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 alleged abuse was never investigated at the time.
The school the girl attended 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 every day.
The trial is due to start in the next few months.
Remarkably, this is not the first case of this sort to occur in Boraas (pop. 66,273). In 2012, another couple, also from DR Congo, was arrested for attempted exorcism and acquitted, though the prosecutor has appealed the verdict.
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