[TimorLesteStudies] ETLJ New Article: Witchcraft and Murder in East Timor

Warren Wright wwright1961 at gmail.com
Sat May 9 08:23:06 EST 2009

ETLJ 2009 6 Witchcraft and Murder in East Timor - In staunchly Catholic East
Timor, it is anomalous that there persists a strong belief in witchcraft. In
September, 2000, this first came to focus the attention of the judicial
system when four men were tried for allegedly torturing and killing an
elderly woman accused of witchcraft.

The facts of that case came to light in the court in Baucau, East Timor's
second largest city. A 62-year-old woman was murdered in the easternmost
region of Los Palos in December, 1999. According to the prosecution, the
woman was tortured and left for dead by four men after having been accused
of killing children by witchcraft.

In January, 2008, three women accused of being witches were killed and
burned along with their house in East Timor. The three women, aged 70, 50
and about 25, were killed in Liquica, about 40km west of the capital Dili.
They were Bui-dau, 70, Flora, 50, and another (unidentified) woman about 25
years old. They had been accused of being witches and were attacked by
unknown people.

As recently as May, 2009, the issue of witchcraft hit the nation's headlines
once again with East Timor's national broadcaster, RTTL, reporting that the
East Timor National Police Deputy Commander Inspector Afonso de Jesus had
called on residents in the capital Dili not to believe in rumor-mongering
that there was a witch named Margareta flying around the city.

Read the full article on


East Timor Law Journal <http://www.eastimorlawjournal.org> - Towards the
rule of law in Timor-Leste!

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