South Korean woman jailed in Germany for exorcism death
A court in Frankfurt this week sentenced a 44-year-old woman to six years in prison for her role in an exorcism that led to the death of her 41-year-old South Korean cousin.
The trial, according to this report, also involved four other South Korean nationals who were all related to the female victim, including her 16-year-old son. They were suspected of killing the woman during a two-hour-long process purportedly seeking to cast out a demon.
The four defendants received suspended sentences of between 18 months and two years. The sentences for deadly bodily harm in Germany usually range from three to 15 years. Suspended sentences are only handed out if there are strong mitigating circumstances.
The state prosecutor did not request the maximum sentence, saying that in spite of the violence of the victim’s death, the defendants had intended to “help for religious reasons”.
The jailed woman and her victim were identified here as Doean K and Seonhwa P.
The court was told that the five attempted to perform the exorcism in a Frankfurt hotel room on December 5, 2015 because they believed Seonhwa P had been “possessed by demons” after she allegedly began talking to herself and lashing out for no apparent reason.
They held her down, beat her and put a cloth and a clothes hanger in her mouth to keep her quiet. This lead to the woman suffocating.
The five defendants, the victim and another cousin of theirs had traveled to Frankfurt six weeks before the deadly incident in order to open an export/import business. The victim was discovered on the day of the attack after the family contacted a cleric from a Korean-Christian church, who called an ambulance and the police to the scene.
They are believed to practice a form of Christianity with influences from an ancient Asian shamanist religion, which is based on the belief that spirits play a powerful role in the world.
The trial made it clear that the defendants believed in the existence of demons and the possibility of exorcising them. According to German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, the 16-year-old son of the victim said his younger brother was frequently beaten so as to dispel such perceived spirits.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake