Human rights defenders in the American state of Massachusetts are demanding an acquittal for people who were convicted of “witchcraft” more than 300 years ago.
Activists who initiated the Massachusetts Witch-Hunt Justice Project have created a petition to acquit the victims of the “witch hunt” in Massachusetts, The Washington Post reports.
According to human rights defenders, in the 17th century, more than 200 women were accused of witchcraft on the territory of the state.
However, the General Court acquitted only 31 women, and the remaining 180 accused remain unacquitted (among them 141 accused during the Salem witch trial and 39 in other cases).
“We are seeking all Massachusetts residents who were not acquitted in the Salem and Boston witch trials, and seek an apology from all victims.”– said the head of the project, Joshua Hutchinson.
According to him, the goal of the project is not only to correct a historical mistake, but also to learn lessons in order to avoid a “witch hunt” in the modern era.
It will be recalled that in May 1692 one of the largest trials in New England began in the city of Salem on charges of “witchcraft”. More than 200 people, most of them women, were indicted on trumped-up charges at the time.
At least 19 women were hanged, many did not survive their imprisonment.
Although Salem became the most infamous location, witch hunts and trials existed throughout the Massachusetts Bay area and in parts of what later became the states of Connecticut and Maine.
Some victims in the states of Massachusetts and Virginia were rehabilitated as early as 1711, but only in 1957 did Massachusetts officially apologize for the “witch” trials.
In 2007, the then governor of Virginia formally pardoned Grace Sherwood, who in 1706 was thrown into the river tied up to see if she would float.
And last year, the state of Massachusetts rehabilitated 22-year-old Elizabeth Johnson 329 years after her “sentence” in Salem.
Also in early 2023, the Connecticut Witch Exoneration Project, which includes members of the Massachusetts group, secured the official exoneration of those executed for “witchcraft” during the state’s colonial past.
In particular, in May, the Senate of Connecticut acquitted 9 women and 2 men who were convicted of “witchcraft” 370 years ago.
Read also: In Scotland, they want to exonerate “witches” who were executed more than 300 years ago