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Post Info TOPIC: Europe's last executed witch to be Exonerated

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Europe's last executed witch to be Exonerated

Swiss authorities are preparing to exonerate the last woman in Europe to be executed for witchcraft.

Anna Goeldi, a maid in the small alpine region of Glarus, was beheaded in 1782 for being a witch after she confessed under torture to conversing with the devil and poisoning the daughter of the house.

But her name could now be cleared following a decision yesterday by local lawmakers to recommend a reversal of the conviction.

Campaigners claim she was the victim of a conspiracy between the eastern town's judical and Protestant church authorities. Goeldi was employed by the family of a rich married politician, who after having an affair with her denounced her for witchcraft claiming she made his daughter spit pins and suffer convulsions.

She insisted on her innocence but confessed after being strung up by her thumbs with stones tied to her feet. The case was brought to light through a book by local journalist Walter Hauser, who claimed Goeldi's employer had used his influence to convict her after she threatened to make their relationship public.

After months of debate and consultation with church authorities the regional government formally acknowledged "that the verdict handed down came from a nonlegal trial and that Anna Goeldi was the victim of 'judicial murder".

The trial and beheading in the village of Mollis was carried out at a time when witch trials had disappeared from most places in Europe. The Protestant Church council, which conducted the trial, had no legal authority and had decided in advance that the woman was guilty, the government said.

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