Torturous 7th Day Adventists will face jail time, but not for torture and barbarism.

Last week I wrote about how four 7th Day Adventists were on trial for the torture of a young woman (they called it an “exorcism”).  One of the people on trial was her former boyfriend, another was her biological mother.  I lamented how a person’s mind could be so mangled by religion that they’d torture someone out of love.

I’m happy to report that all four of them are going to jail.  I’m livid to report the way that went down:

The three men and a woman, members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, tied up the Cameroonian teenager in the position of Christ on the cross and kept her bound to a mattress for seven days in May 2011.When police discovered the woman at a housing estate in Grigny in the southern Paris suburbs, she was emaciated, dehydrated, in a state of shock and showed signs of having been beaten.

The four, who are all of French Caribbean origin, insisted throughout the trial that the victim, named as Antoinette, had consented to the exorcism.

The court found them guilty of kidnap, but dismissed charges of torture and barbarism, and the sentences were lower than the eight to 12 years that the prosecution had called for.

Antoinette’s former boyfriend, Eric Derond, was considered the instigator of the assault, and was given the longest sentence of six years.

Reacting to the verdict, Antoinette, now 21, said she had hoped for tougher sentences against the four, who she called “dangerous people”.

First, it doesn’t sound like she consented to what they did.

Second, the charges of torture and barbarism were dismissed?  What about: “When police discovered the woman at a housing estate in Grigny in the southern Paris suburbs, she was emaciated, dehydrated, in a state of shock and showed signs of having been beaten”?  That seems to be the epitome of torture and barbarism.  Is the court really saying “Yeah, they kidnapped her, but who knows how she wound up beat to shit?”

I would really like to know the justification for that, but haven’t been able to find it.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Loqi

    You know, when Christopher Hitchens was saying that waterboarding isn’t torture, he had the integrity to volunteer to undergo the process to settle the question. Presumably the defense in this case had similar integrity…?

    • baal

      With 4 of them going through the same procedure, it’d fail the ethics board test for human experimentation as the LD50 might be 1 week long session (i.e. they’d kill two of them).

    • iknklast

      And changed his mind once he’d gone through it. That’s the scientific method – if your results don’t fit your hypothesis, change your hypothesis. Don’t just ignore it.

  • Mick

    The Christians have been treating each other like that for thousands of years. It’s one of their traditions. They spent 600 years during the Inquistions perfecting their torture methods (the good old days they call them) so you can’t just take it all away from them. You can’t have the Government rushing in and messing around with sincerely held religious traditions like that. Also, the girl didn’t die and the demons (apparently) ran away, so the whole thing was really quite successful. They deserve a medal, not jail time.


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