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Scottish Prime Minister apologizes for witch trials: 'scandal of historical injustice'

Scottish Prime Minister apologizes for witch trials: ‘scandal of historical injustice’

Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon offered a posthumous apology on International Women’s Day to thousands of people – mostly women – accused of witchcraft, many of whom have been executed.

An estimated 4,000 Scots, mostly women, were accused of witchcraft between 1563 and 1736. As a result, at least 2,500 of them were to be executed. The Scottish government has now, posthumously, apologized for this. “At a time when women were not allowed to speak as witnesses in the courtroom, they were accused and killed because they are poor, different, weak or in many cases simply because they are women,” Prime Minister Nicolas Sturgeon said. in Parliament.

During that period, witches were hunted in many places in Europe, but according to scientists, the number of people executed in Scotland was five times higher than the European average. Moreover, confessions were often obtained by torture, and convicts were strangled or burned at the stake.

Misogyny is not gone yet

“It was an injustice on a massive scale, certainly driven in part by misogyny in the literal sense, misogyny,” Sturgeon said, noting that misogyny is far from gone today. This is why she chose International Women’s Day as the moment to “recognize, on behalf of the Scottish Government, a gross historical injustice” and to issue a solemn apology “to all accused, convicted, famous or executed under the Witchcraft Act of 1563”.

Sturgeon also said Parliament was working on a law that would retroactively declare countless accused women innocent. In January, the Catalan parliament awarded reparations to about 1,000 people, mostly women, who had been convicted of witchcraft. “Institutional killing of women,” as Catalan President Pere Aragon called it.

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