One-Fifth of the Prisoners Are Witches

The Daily Telegraph (London) has an odd story about how the legal code of the “Democratic” Republic of the Congo (which is anything but a democracy) is one of the few left in the world that both a) formally defines witchcraft as a crime and b) regularly enforces that legal ban on sorcery.

The Daily Telegraph reporter notes that the DRC is planning to open a new national prison, and about 20 percent of the prisoners there will be people imprisoned for violating the country’s anti-witchcraft laws. According to the story,

At Bangui police station, a team of detectives specialises in sorcery. To make the investigators immune to the spells of their suspects, they are routinely injected with “vaccinations” of herbs by witchdoctors. They say that this is necessary because the number of those practising witchcraft is rising. Hundreds of women, men and children are charged every year with witchcraft offences, and if found guilty are punished by imprisonment and even execution.

One explanation for the increase is the spread of Aids. More than 17 per cent of the population is HIV positive, and deaths from Aids are often attributed to sorcery rather than from unprotected sex or infected blood transfusions.

How long do we have to wait for Law & Order: Sorcery Division?

Seriously, isn’t it weird to live in a world where some people use PDAs with more computing power than supercomputers used to have while other parts of the world are still imprisoning people for being witches?

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