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‘Witch doctor’ sentenced to 10 years in prison for murder of woman

By Rana Husseini - Sep 12,2017 - Last updated at Sep 12,2017

AMMAN — The Cassation Court has upheld a May 2017 Criminal Court ruling sentencing a 54-year-old “witch doctor” to 10 years in prison after convicting him of murdering a woman in Irbid in August 2015.

The court first handed the defendant a 20-year prison term after convicting him of killing a 42-year-old woman, mother of four, while in the process of extracting “evil spirits from her in his house on August 5”.

However, the court decided to reduce the sentence by half because the victim’s mother dropped charges against him.

 Court papers said that the defendant claimed to be a witch doctor who “was able to extract evil spirits using all sorts of sorcery for the purpose of financial gains”.

The victim, who was working at his house, was mentally affected by the loss of her son in an accident a few years before, the court added.

“The defendant convinced the victim that there was a demon inside of her and that he could extract it,” according to court documents.

The defendant wrapped the victim’s own scarf around her neck “and squeezed it tightly claiming to want to kill the demon. Instead, the woman suffocated and fainted”, court transcripts added. 

The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was declared dead on arrival, the court added.

The defendant had contested his ruling stating that “he did not intend to kill the woman and that he was only trying to cure her, therefore, he deserved a lesser sentence”, the court documents said.

 The higher court, however, ruled late last month that the Criminal Court’s proceedings were accurate and correct and the defendant received the appropriate punishment.

“The defendant knew that there was a big possibility that the woman could die of suffocation as a result of wrapping the scarf around her neck to extract the demons. So he should not benefit from any reduction,” the higher court ruled.

 

 The Cassation Court comprised judges Mohammad Ibrahim, Yassin Abdullat, Mohammad Tarawneh, Naji Zubi, and Bassem Mubeidin.

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