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Region’s ‘witches’ excused

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By Amy Duffy
Region's 'witches' excused
NICOLA Sturgeon has offered a formal apology to people from this region accused of witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Over 360 years ago on Dumfries Whitesands, nine women were found guilty of witchcraft and taken to what was known as the ‘ordinary place’ of execution.
They were strangled in front of a crowd and then burnt at the stake.
Witch hunts took place in many countries during that period, but academics say Scotland’s execution rate was five times the European average.
Confessions were regularly secured under torture and accusations were made due to people being seen with animals, labelled as ‘familiars’, and land and inheritance disputes often led to allegations of witchcraft.
Back then, everyday behaviours such as sitting in a group by the fire could be viewed as conspiratorial, and lead to persecution.
In a statement at Holyrood this week, the First Minister said: “At a time when women were not even allowed to speak as witnesses in a courtroom, they were accused and killed because they were poor, different, vulnerable or in many cases just because they were women.
“It was injustice on a colossal scale, driven at least in part by misogyny in its most literal sense, hatred of women.”