By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The leader of main opposition party in Seychelles, Patrick Herminie was on Monday arraigned along with seven others before the country’s magistrates’ court as part of a probe into “witchcraft” and “unnatural and superstitious” allegations against him.
Herminie, who is the head of the United Seychelles party has said he would join in the 2025 presidential election.
He has described his arraignment as politically motivated.
Herminie, also a former speaker of parliament, was arrested on Friday at his party’s headquarters and his office searched before he was later released.
“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 said Herminie’s name was found in a WhatsApp message exchanged with a Tanzanian man who was detained in September allegedly in possession of items linked to witchcraft including black wooden artefacts, small bottles of brownish liquid and documents containing language and symbols described as satanic.
The case is linked to an investigation into the discovery in August of the dug-up bodies of an elderly woman and a young man in a cemetery on the main island of Mahe.
Prosecutors have also said symbols on the documents found in the Tanzanian’s possession were similar to those found in places that were vandalised in Seychelles, including Catholic churches.
The court released Herminie and the other Seychellois defendants on bail of 30,000 Seychelles rupees (about $2,200) while the Tanzanian was ordered to remain in police custody.
The case will be heard on November 3.