Friday, 31 October 2008


Campaigners in London plan to petition the British government today for a posthumous pardon for the hundreds of people executed for witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries.

Witchcraft has not been punishable by death for nearly 300 years.

They said Halloween is a good time to highlight the "grave miscarriage of justice" suffered by the men and women falsely accused of being witches.

Their petition asks Justice Minister Jack Straw to recommend that Queen Elizabeth issue a pardon.

"We felt that it was time that the sinister associations held by a minority of people regarding witches and Halloween were tackled head-on," said Emma Angel, head of Angels, a large costume supplier in London.

"We were gobsmacked to discover that though the law was changed hundreds of years ago and society had moved on, the victims were never officially pardoned."

Around 400 people were executed in England for alleged witchcraft, and many more in Scotland, the campaigners said.

In the 16th to 18th centuries leaders of money put pressure on the judiciary to blame someone for society's problems -- so they decided to blame witches !

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