Authorities in Seychelles have brought witchcraft charges against the country’s main opposition leader as well as seven other defendants. Per BBC, police said the charges brought against Patrick Herminie were in connection with an alleged exhumation of two bodies from a cemetery located on the island of Mahé.
But Herminie reportedly accused President Wavel Ramkalawan of being behind his arrest and prosecution, claiming that it was a “political show” by the country’s leader to “eliminate those who he knows will remove him from power in the 2025 elections.” Herminie plans to file for presidential candidacy on the ticket of the United Seychelles Party (USP).
Herminie and six other Seychellois nationals were released on a $2,100 bail on Monday. The court, however, denied a Tanzanian suspect bail and ruled the suspect should remain detained until November – which is the suspect’s next court date.
Press in the archipelago reported that the charges brought against Herminie and the other suspects include possession of items intended for use in witchcraft, conspiracy to perform witchcraft and procuring services related to witchcraft.
Prosecutors claim that a WhatsApp conversation between a Seychellois suspect and the Tanzanian national allegedly showed Herminie’s name had been brought up. Seychellois authorities arrested the Tanzanian national at the country’s main international airport on September 21.
Prosecutors also said the Tanzanian suspect was in possession of items linked to witchcraft, BBC reported. The items in question included stones, black wooden artifacts, bottles containing brownish liquid, powders, and documents with weird language and symbols that were said to be “demonic and satanic.”
Prosecutors said a number of places in Mahé – including Catholic churches – had been vandalized, and documents of such nature were found at those locations.
Herminie said his party’s offices were raided by several police officers on Friday, but no witchcraft-related items were found. He also said the officers were looking for items such as “bones, body parts, and objects associated with Christianity.”
Herminie also distanced himself from witchcraft. “In Seychelles’ history, there has never been until now, a political party leader arrested for superstition and witchcraft. This is something new and it is shameful for Seychelles,” he was quoted as saying, per BBC.