Tuesday October 03, 2023

Woman fatally burned in suspected exorcism in Nicaragua

March 01, 2017

MANAGUA: A 25-year-old woman died Tuesday after being tied up and thrown on a flaming pyre in Nicaragua in what authorities said was suspected to be a deadly exorcism ritual.

Vilma Trujillo succumbed in hospital to the horrific burns inflicted on her a week ago by neighbors in her remote community who believed she was possessed by a demon, Nicaragua´s first lady and vice president, Rosario Murillo, told state media.

The crime, which took place February 22 in the northeastern village of El Cortezal, was "deplorable and to be condemned," Murillo said. According to information given by family and feminist groups to Nicaraguan media, Trujillo was grabbed by a man named Juan Rocha passing himself off as a pastor in an evangelical group called the Church of the Assembly of God.

Rocha and other people tied up Trujillo and threw her naked onto a heap of flaming logs. Relatives rescued her hours later, her body severely burned. Rocha, arrested by police, insisted the woman was "possessed," but he denied burning her. He claimed she had been held aloft by the supposed demonic spirit that then fell into the flames.

The head of the Church of the Assembly of God, Rafael Arista, denied in a television interview that Rocha was part of his congregation or that his group had anything to do with the crime.

Trujillo´s husband, Reynaldo Peralta, told La Prensa newspaper that "my wife was not possessed" and accused the attackers of practicing witchcraft. He said he was away from home when she was burned.

Murillo vowed that those responsible would be prosecuted for murder. "Something like this cannot happen again," she said.