Woman dies following exorcism, Bedouin religious leader and doctor arrested

The exact nature of the ritual remains unclear, as does the identity of the religious leader, but it is believed that he is related to a "terrorist family."

 Gisela Marulanda, 23, who claims to be possessed by spirits, participates in an exorcism ritual performed by Hermes Cifuentes (not pictured) in La Cumbre, Valle September 5, 2012. (photo credit: Jaime Saldarriaga/Reuters)
Gisela Marulanda, 23, who claims to be possessed by spirits, participates in an exorcism ritual performed by Hermes Cifuentes (not pictured) in La Cumbre, Valle September 5, 2012.
(photo credit: Jaime Saldarriaga/Reuters)

Three men, including a Bedouin religious leader and a doctor from a medical facility in Israel's South, were arrested Sunday night in connection with the death of a 26-year-old woman during an exorcism, Hebrew media reported.

The woman in question was brought to the religious leader, who lives in Tel Sheva and is known for practicing witchcraft after she was feeling unwell. During the exorcism, though, the woman collapsed and died, allegedly due to the religious leader's actions, reports stated.

The exact nature of the ritual remains unclear, as does the identity of the religious leader, but he is believed to have familial connections to terrorism.

The doctor was arrested for allegedly attempting to interfere with the investigation, and the victim's body has been moved to the Abu Kabir Institute for Forensic Medicine.

The victim's husband is also suspected of having been involved, but he maintains his innocence.

Male hands arrested with handcuffs in Criminal concept (illustrative) (credit: INGIMAGE)Male hands arrested with handcuffs in Criminal concept (illustrative) (credit: INGIMAGE)

"My client does not know what happened other than that he put his wife in treatment to save her life, but unfortunately, she emerged lifeless," his attorney, Moti Yosef, said in a statement, according to N12. 

This is not the first time controversy has emerged from an exorcism ritual in the South.

In April, a prominent Bedouin religious leader in Rahat was arrested on suspicion of committing sexual offenses with a woman who came to him in order to receive an exorcism.

In 2015, a Palestinian was allegedly beaten to death during an exorcism ritual.