6 Feb 2009

Police in Samoa investigate alleged witchcraft death

3:24 pm on 6 February 2009

The police in Samoa are investigating a complaint by the family of a woman who was allegedly told by a traditional healer or taulasea to sit in boiling hot water to rid her of bad spirits.

A close relative of the woman says during the witchcraft treatment, the healer told the woman to sit in an open plastic container filled with hot water.

The woman's husband was allegedly told to sit on his wife's shoulders at the same time.

It is reported the healer told the couple the harsh treatment should kill bad spirits.

However, relatives say the woman was badly burnt as a result.

She was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

The assistant police commissioner, Papalii Li'o, says a post-mortem will be carried out to confirm the cause of death, but he points out any kind of witchcraft treatment is illegal in Samoa.