The leader of the main opposition party in the Seychelles, Patrick Herminie, was indicted on Monday as part of an investigation into suspected “witchcraft”.
Patrick Herminie, leader of the United Seychelles party and a candidate in the 2025 presidential election, denounced the decision as political.
Mr. Herminie was arrested on Friday at his party’s headquarters and his office was searched before being released.
Patrick Herminie, along with six other Seychellois and a Tanzanian national, have been charged in connection with an investigation into “witchcraft” and “unnatural and superstitious” acts.
The investigation is linked to the discovery in August of the unearthed bodies of an elderly woman and a young man in a cemetery on the main island of Mahé.
The name of Mr. Herminie, who was president of the National Assembly between 2007 and 2016, was found on the phone of the Tanzanian national, who was arrested at Seychelles International Airport at the end of September in possession of stones, small bottles containing a brownish liquid, an assortment of powders and several documents containing language and symbols described as satanic, according to the Seychelles News Agency.
Prosecutors said that the symbols on the documents were similar to others found in vandalized sites in the archipelago, including Catholic churches.
After being charged on Monday, Patrick Herminie was released on bail of 30,000 Seychelles rupees (around €2,100).
If found guilty, the accused could face fines. A new hearing is scheduled for November 3.
Mr. Herminie has said he does not believe in witchcraft.
Mr. Herminie described his arrest as “a political show” by President Wavel Ramkalawan to “eliminate those who he knows will remove him from power in the 2025 elections”, the Seychelles News Agency reported.
President Ramkalawan has not commented on the case.
He added that the officers searched for items related to witchcraft, including “bones, body parts, and objects associated with Christianity,” but did not find any.