A 66-year-old woman was arrested from the island of Gemanafushi on Sunday on suspicion of practicing sorcery and black magic.
The police said today that she was taken into custody based on intelligence information. “Materials used for black magic” was found from her residence.
“Some islanders had lodged complaints with the police over the course of several days about the Gemanafushi woman practicing sorcery and threatening to use sorcery,” the police said.
The Gemanafushi magistrate court has extended her remand detention to seven days.
The elderly woman is the fourth suspect arrested this week on charges of using sorcery or black magic. Three men were arrested from the island of Vilifushi on Saturday following complaints from islanders claiming that they were causing damages to households.
Belief in sorcery and black magic, known locally as fanditha or sihuru, is common and widespread in the Maldives.
Earlier this month, the Islamic ministry asked the privately-owned Sangu TV to stop a weekly programme on sorcery and black magic, saying it poses a threat to religious unity.
In August, the Fiqh academy had flagged the promotion of black magic and sorcery in local media and urged the public to refrain from engaging practitioners of black magic.
The fatwa on sorcery came after opposition figures linked the uprooting of old trees at the Republic square and the removal of monuments in Malè to President Abdulla Yameen’s alleged fear of sorcery.
In January 2012, local NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf called on the authorities to enact legislation to make sorcery or black magic illegal in Maldives.