Authorities are investigating the death of a 27-year old Macedonian man who was killed as a result of a religious ceremony intended to free him from demonic influences. Abedin Alijoski, a long-time resident of the tiny village of Labunista in Macedonia had been under medical care for chronic depression and other unspecified emotional problems for the past five years. According to local sources, family members had called in members of the radical Wahhabi sect to heal Alijoski of his illness. The exorcism ceremony involved extended readings from the Koran and repeated beatings with sticks to drive the demons out. Although family members were in attendance, it is unclear whether they actively participated in the beatings. Alijoski died on January 11 after 90 minutes of beatings. A local doctor was allowed to see the body briefly and contacted authorities. The Wahhabis were able to escape the house with the aid of local villagers. The family members buried Alijoski's body but municipal authorities are considering an exhumation and criminal proceedings.
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