Saturday, January 28

Scotland apologizes for women executed by witches

  • Scottish institutions accused more than 4,000 women of witchcraft in the past

The scottish governmentwith the prime minister Nicola Sturgeon at the head, has presented this Tuesday its official apologies for the thousands of women what have been convicted of witchcraft and executed “just for being women” in their country. This is a measure similar to the one approved by the Parliament of Catalonia in January, when the Catalan chamber agreed to repair the memory of women accused of witchcraft in the past.

Long history of persecution

As happened with the studies on witchcraft in Catalonia, the data offered in parliament show that Scotland was a very hostile territory with witchcraft. Between the 16th and 18th centuries they were accused of practicing it 4,000 people. It was also an unequal persecution, since 84% of the accusations were directed at women. In this period of time it is estimated that 2,500 people were executed for this reason, most of them strangled and then burned after extracting confessions under torture.

This Tuesday, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that “he recognizes that historical injustice blatant.” Sturgeon also wanted to present “official posthumous apology to all persons accused, convicted, slandered or executed in application of the 1563 law on witchcraft”.

A 16th century law, key

In 1563 the law was passed that sentenced people found guilty of witchcraft to death. It was the legal protection to carry out this persecution and was in force until 1736.

“At a time when women weren’t even allowed to testify in court, they were accused and killed because they were poor, different, vulnerable or, in many cases, just because they were women,” said Sturgeon, chief of the independence party SNP.

In fact, experts in the field indicate that the witch hunt in Scotland was the work of the State. The accusations were made by an elite who believed “that the devil was trying to do all the evil he could and that witches were his allies,” according to Julian Goodare, emeritus professor of history at the University of Edinburgh.

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Sturgeon took advantage of the apology in the Scottish parliament to stress that “there are regions of the world where women today risk persecution and sometimes die because they have been accused of witchcraft.”

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