A woman was beaten with a walking stick during a brutal exorcism organised by members of her own family, a court heard.
Asma Hussain was tied to a bed and covered with holy water after relations became convinced she was possessed by a demon, it is alleged.
Her husband Ahmed, 60, summoned the local Muslim preacher to carry out the ceremony and encouraged him to hit his wife harder, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told.
Mrs Hussain’s back was described as ‘one massive bruise’ after the cruel and unwarranted attack, in which she also suffered injuries to her face and hands, jurors heard.
Ahmed Hussain, his son Mohammed Kayes Hussain, 28, daughter Salma, 22, daughter-in-law Halima Khatun, 28, and son-in-law Mohammed Aziz, 21, are on trial accused of false imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
They are said to have believed that someone had ‘put black magic’ on their victim.
‘It appears that members of Asma Hussain’s family believed that she was possessed by demons,’ said prosecutor Babatunde Alabi.
‘As a result of this belief, it is alleged that they kept her captive in her own home, tying her to a bed in the living room. They also arranged for an imam to carry out an exorcism on her.
‘During the course of the exorcism, she was held down, had water poured all over her and was beaten with a cane.
‘For some unknown reason, it appears the defendants thought that Asma was possessed by a demon.
‘They claimed her behaviour had changed and that her condition had deteriorated over a matter of weeks.
‘Faced with this seeming deterioration, they decided to deal with the matter by spiritual means.’
The exorcism, at the family home in Bethnal Green, east London, is said to have been instigated by Ahmed Hussain last January 7.
The family allegedly looked on as the imam – who has never been traced – threw ‘holy’ water all over Mrs Hussain before whipping her with a walking stick to ‘beat the demon out’, while her husband encouraged him to hit her harder.
‘Asma was tied to the bed while the imam prayed,’ said Mr Alabi.
‘At some stage, with the encouragement of all the defendants, the imam started beating Asma with her husband’s walking stick.
‘This was done, apparently, to “beat the demon out”.
The attack continued into the early hours of the morning, the court heard.
The previous day, Ahmed and Mohammed Hussain are said to have brought the imam to the home of another daughter, Shahana Hussain, where Asma had stayed overnight, telling her someone had put ‘black magic’ on her.
They went into a room and the imam prayed before dousing Mrs Hussain in water.
Shahana Hussain refused their request for more water and they left.
On the day of the exorcism, Shahana Hussain became concerned after visiting her mother to find a relative removing a tie from her leg, it was said.
She had bruising on her face and was crying and appeared to be distressed.
Shahana later called police who attended the property with paramedics, to be told by Mohammed Hussain that his mother was possessed and in need of an exorcism, the court heard.
Khatun also told them her mother-in-law was possessed, it is claimed.
‘When the ambulance crew arrived, they wanted to take Asma to hospital,’ Mr Alabi said.
‘However, Ahmed Hussain said she was not going. Asma Hussain followed what he said and the other defendants supported this.
‘The family kept pouring water over her, claiming it was holy water.
‘All of a sudden, Asma rushed out of the room and went straight to the ambulance.
‘In the ambulance, a full assessment was carried out. When Asma’s top was lifted up, it was discovered her back was one massive bruise.’
During police interviews, Halima Khatun claimed her mother-in-law was possessed and said she knew water had been thrown at her, but insisted she was unaware anyone had beaten her.
Salma Hussain told police she was present when her mother was hit by the imam but denied any involvement. She later refuted taking any part in the assaults on Mrs Hussain.
Mohammed Kayes Hussain and Mohammed Aziz also both denied any involvement in the assault.
Ahmed Hussain claimed he was held captive by his son, Mohammed Kayes, and was unaware of what was going on as he had been ‘given something to drink’. He denied instigating the offences.
Ahmed Hussain, of Poplar, east London; Mohammed Kayes Hussain, of Aldgate, east London; Salma Hussain, of Shadwell, east London; Aziz, of the same address, and Khatun, of the same address, all deny assault occasioning actual bodily harm and false imprisonment.
The trial continues.