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Al Mezan slams murder of woman accused of witchcraft

Aug. 19, 2010 9:50 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 20, 2010 1:40 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights condemned the murder of a 62-year-old woman, accused by locals of witchcraft, in Gaza City Tuesday.

An investigation by the rights group confirmed earlier reports that unidentified men fired at Jabriyeh Abu Kanas as she sat in front of her house with her 75-year-old husband. She was pronounced dead on arrival at Ash-Shifa hospital.

In a sworn statement to Al Mezan, one of Abu Kanas’ relatives said he witnessed the shooting. He told the rights group he was returning from buying Jabriyeh groceries, and saw a silver Hyundai car, with blacked-out windows and no number plates, stop outside Jabriyeh’s house. He heard what he believed to be muted gunfire, and then the car sped away, leaving his aunt bleeding from her chest.

Abu Kanas’ relatives added that a fortnight ago two cars, a Mercedes and a Skoda, tried to approach Jabriyeh but fled when her family appeared.

Locals had accused the woman of practicing witchcraft and voodoo, officials said Tuesday. Her relatives told Al Mezan that she cured people using traditional methods.

Al Mezan called for a prompt, serious investigation into the murder.

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