Catalan campaign inspired by Witches of Scotland achieves pardon for women executed for Witchcraft

The Catalan regional parliament has formally pardoned hundreds of women executed for witchcraft between the 15th and 18th centuries, after an international campaign took inspiration from its Scottish counterpart.

Spanish historians discovered that Catalonia was a hotspot in Europe for witch hunts. It is understood that more than 700 women were tortured and executed in this region.

By a large majority, MPs in the regional parliament recently passed a resolution to rehabilitate the memory of these persecuted women.

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Sapiens Magazine launched the campaign seeking the pardon after being partly inspired by the Witches of Scotland campaign which is urging the Scottish Government to grant a pardon, apology and memorial to those persecuted as witches in Scotland.

The Catalan regional parliament has formally pardoned hundreds of women executed for witchcraft between the 15th and 18th centuries. PIC: Getty Images.

In Scotland, an estimated 3,837 people – 84% of whom were women – were tried as witches under the Witchcraft Act of 1563, of which around two-thirds were executed and burned.

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Speaking to the Witches of Scotland podcast in March last year, Sonia Casas, editor in chief of Catalan’s historic magazine said: “Our campaign is influenced by your own campaign in Scotland and we also saw different movements in Switzerland, Norway and Germany.

"It’s similar to what happened in Scotland in that the witch hunt was very intense in certain de-centralised territories. More women were accused of witchcraft in comparison to the rest of Spain. It was the first place in Europe where there was a specific law to judge cases of witchcraft written in 1424.”

Reacting to the news, the Witches of Scotland campaign tweeted: “The campaign started [email protected] to pardon women convicted of witchcraft after being in part inspired by our campaign has been successful - hundreds of women pardoned - we are BEYOND DELIGHTED.”

MSP Natalie Don – who is currently preparing a member’s bill for parliament to urge the Scottish government for a similar pardon in Scotland – said: “Brilliant news! Really positive to hear ahead of progressing this in Scotland.”

Ms Don has been invited to speak at the Scottish Parliament, after a parliamentary committee considered a petition lodged by Witches of Scotland’s Claire Mitchell QC.

Ms Don said she was “more than happy” to talk to the committee about the Bill.

The next steps for the Bill would be to draft a consultation, which Ms Don hopes to do so by mid-February.

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