Last Christmas, French teenager Kristy Bamu was tortured and murdered by his own family in an East London flat for being a witch.
He had traveled with four of his siblings to visit their older sister Magalie Bamu in Newham, a neighborhood in the British capital, for the Christmas holiday. When they arrived, the sister's boyfriend, Eric Bikubi, accused Kristy and two of his siblings of witchcraft and then began savagely beating the 15-year-old in what would end up being days of torture.
One Year Later
Bikubi and Magalie Bamu were brought to court on Thursday for the beginning of the murder trial. Both denied the charge, although Bikubi admitted to manslaughter, according to the BBC.
On the first day of the trial, prosecutors detailed to jurors the events that took place in the London apartment.
Despite her own siblings' denials that they were sorcerers, Magalie Bamu joined her boyfriend in repeating these fantastic claims and participating in the assaults, prosecutor Brian Altman told the court. Bikubi also convinced at least one other Bamu sibling to beat Kristy.
Kristy had been the victim of a prolonged attack of unspeakable savagery and brutality. Wickedly, the defendants also recruited sibling against sibling as vehicles for their violence. In a staggering act of depravity and cruelty, they both forced the others to take part in the assaults upon Kristy.
After the beating, Kristy was put in the bathtub of cold water. The boy was either unconscious or too exhausted to stay above the water.
He was in such pain after days of being attacked with sticks, a metal bar, hammer and chisel that he begged to die, the UK Press Association reported, and he had suffered a total of 101 injuries before eventually got his wish.
It was only when he realised that Kristy was not moving that he stopped what he was doing and pulled him from the water. By then it was too late, Altman noted.
Bikubi also admitted to assaulting two of the other sisters. The trial resumes on Friday.
All involved in the incident were originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a particular type of sorcery called kindoki is practiced. According to Altman, Bikubi was attempting an exorcism through the doling out of ever-increasing violent punishment.
In certain parts of the world, witchcraft killings still occur. In November, a lynch mob in Mozambique attacked and killed two people who were suspected of being witches and The Daily Telegraph notes that 20 elderly people were murdered for the same crime between February and November of 2011.
In some counties, executing witches is still part of the official legal code. Last month in Saudi Arabia, a woman was beheaded today for practicing magic and sorcery because she told people that she could cure them of illnesses.