Siberian Police Stop Witch Burning
In an unexpected incident worthy of the Spanish inquisition, a couple in eastern Siberia decided their acquaintance was a witch and attempted to burn her alive, though police stopped the impromptu auto-da-fe.
The rescue came not a moment too soon, as the couple were at that moment forcing the alleged witch headfirst into a burning stove in an abandoned building, Zabaikalsky region police said Thursday.
The 46-year-old victim was hospitalized with severe burns to her face and hands, police said in a statement.
The culprit was a 41-year-old local woman who was aided by a male acquaintance, the report said, without releasing their names.
The duo, who both had criminal records, reportedly came to the conclusion that the other woman was a witch while discussing her during a drinking session.
They then headed to her house and kidnapped her in order to exorcize the devil from her through fire. However, a visitor to the victim's house found traces of a struggle and alerted the police.
An investigation has been launched into the incident. Meanwhile, the female accuser has been admitted to a psychiatric ward.
It remained unclear what had prompted the witchcraft allegations.