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Page last updated at 09:01 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 10:01 UK

Indonesia executes ritual killer

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An Indonesian man who murdered 42 women and girls in black magic rituals has been executed by firing squad.

Self-confessed "shaman" Ahmad Suraji, 57, told police he killed the women to improve his magical powers.

He had been sentenced to death in 1998 after police found the women's bodies buried in a field in North Sumatra.

Suraji was executed despite a last-minute appeal by Amnesty International, the rights group which opposes all capital punishment.

Supernatural help

Bonaventura Nainggolan, a spokesman for the Indonesian attorney general's office, said: "He appeared resigned to his fate. His final wish was to see his wife. We fulfilled this."

The execution took place in Deli Serdang district, North Sumatra.

Suraji's victims had come to him for supernatural help with their finances and love life.

Police said he persuaded them to be buried naked up to the neck before strangling them.

Belief in black magic in Indonesia is widespread, especially in rural areas, correspondents say.





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