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On the abolition of the death penalty

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Inside Story

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IN 1652 a Swiss washerwoman, Michée Chauderon, was arrested after the Devil visited her in the form of a shadow and, during intercourse, left a small mark under her breast and another on her thigh. Prosecutors determined that if these marks produced no blood after being pierced with a needle this would be proof she had relinquished God. Chauderon winced in pain when they pricked her chest, and blood did flow. It looked as though she might be innocent. The court ordered further interrogations, and when the mark on the thigh produced no blood, she was tortured, until finally she told the truth – yes, she had let the shadow defile her, and she had made a pact with the Devil in exchange for promises of wealth. She was burnt at the stake in Geneva.

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Chan and Sukumaran

Image: Self portrait of Sukumaran, and his portrait of Chan. Source: ArtNet News.