Europe

Dutch-Moroccan woman charged with child abuse over exorcism

View of Meuse river with bridge in Roermond Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A court in the city of Roermond will hear the case

A Dutch-Moroccan woman has been charged with child abuse in the Netherlands after she put her nine-year-old son's hands in a hot oven in the belief that it would drive out an evil spirit.

The woman, 39, also stuffed his ears with cotton wool, damaging his hearing. The boy was taken into care in 2016.

A preliminary hearing is due to be held in the southern city of Roermond.

Her lawyer says she cannot be guilty of abuse as she thought she was doing her son good.

"Abuse means you are hurting someone on purpose, and that is not the case here," Anis Boumanjal told Volkskrant newspaper (in Dutch).

Dutch mental health organisation GGZ said that institutions and therapists had become increasingly aware that patients with a Muslim background believed their psychological problems were caused by demons.

It is thought this is the first case of its kind in country.

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