Six men in Papua New Guinea who tortured three women they claimed had practised sorcery have been sentenced to eight years each in jail.
Justice David Susame told a National Court hearing in New Ireland, that it is becoming a practice in some parts of the country to round up people, accuse them of sorcery, and torture them.
He said some of the victims die, others have brutal injuries and their properties are often destroyed.
The judge said the situation has caught the attention of the global community and human rights advocates, forcing the government to act.
The National newspaper reported the six were originally charged with attempted murder but Justice Susame sentenced them on the lesser charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
They will serve their jail terms with hard labour at the Kavieng prison.
The paper said the court heard that in 2015 the daughter of one of the men had an apparent heart ailment and the group quickly decided the three women were to blame.
They were tortured with hot pokers and boiling water.
The judge told the court that soon after it was found the girl did not have a medical condition, just a mild headache that was treated with pain relief.