Man beaten to death in Azerbaijan during exorcism
A young man was beaten to death with pomegranate branches during a ceremony arranged by his family to have evil spirits expelled from him. The family of the deceased chose this peculiar method of treatment after they noticed the manifestation of mental problems. Six people have been arrested in connection with the case.
The official version
The deceased, 25-year-old Murad Soltanov, was suffering from a mental disorder accompanied by seizures. The young man’s father concluded that the reason for this was evil spirits possessing his son. He found people in one of the rural towns who were, allegedly, capable of expelling any evil spirit, and paid them for the “treatment.” The exorcism procedure required him to be beaten with pomegranate branches. It lasted for several hours and resulted in the death of the young man.
A criminal case was opened under articles 126.3 (causing grievous bodily harm resulting in death) and 138.2-1 (the use of treatment methods prohibited by law, resulting in death). The suspects were charged accordingly and placed under arrest.
According to those arrested, they simply used a popular method: “We have treated him this way before, but during the last session Soltanov suddenly died.”
Society’s reaction: not all against it
Most social network users were horrified by what happened:
“What an obscurity, it is as if the court is not from the 21st century.”
“Horrible! It’s good that at least witches are not burned at the stake.”
“Where are the district and city authorities, knowing that someone in the city is doing this? They probably bribed someone and everything was quiet and peaceful, but then the man inconvenienced them by dying and ruining everything!”
But there were also those in defence of the practice:
“These branches are, in fact, small sticks with which they symbolically beat the person affected by evil spirits. Even if they beat you all day, you will not die. People from the middle class do not resort to this type of practice. Mainstream medicine cannot provide treatment and cannot explain why a mentally healthy person suddenly starts having seizures. This traditional treatment is a simple method taken from the Koran. No drugs or chemistry are involved. The only time it may be lethal is when you cannot convince the evil spirit to get out.”