Patrick Herminie, the leader of Seychelles’ primary opposition party, faced charges on Monday in connection with an investigation into alleged witchcraft.
Herminie, who leads the United Seychelles party and intends to run in the 2025 presidential election, decried the accusations as politically driven.
He, a former parliament speaker, was apprehended at his party’s headquarters on Friday, with his office being searched, and he was subsequently released. On Monday, he received formal charges, alongside seven other individuals, at the Seychelles magistrates’ court as part of an inquiry into “witchcraft” and “unnatural and superstitious” activities.
“This is a political show by the president (Wavel Ramkalawan) to eliminate those who he knows will remove him from power in the 2025 elections,” Herminie was quoted by the Seychelles News Agency as saying after his arrest on Friday.
Prosecutors have revealed that Herminie’s name appeared in a WhatsApp conversation with a Tanzanian man who was arrested in September on suspicion of possessing items associated with witchcraft, such as black wooden artifacts, small bottles of brownish liquid, and documents featuring satanic language and symbols.
This case is connected to an investigation stemming from the discovery in August of exhumed bodies of an elderly woman and a young man in a cemetery on the main island of Mahe. Additionally, prosecutors have noted that the symbols on the documents found in the Tanzanian’s possession bear resemblance to those found in vandalized locations in Seychelles, including Catholic churches.
Herminie and the other Seychellois defendants have been granted bail in the amount of 30,000 Seychelles rupees (approximately $2,200), while the Tanzanian remains in police custody. A subsequent hearing in this case is scheduled for November 3.
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