Tunisia 'spiritual healer' arrested for hundreds of sex crimes

Police custody

Tunisia is seen as a pioneer in the Arab world in terms of women's rights, and in July 2017 made sexual harassment in a public space punishable by a jail sentence of up to a year.

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A Tunisian self-proclaimed "spiritual healer" was arrested on Tuesday after a television report in which he claimed to have persuaded hundreds of women into having sex with him, a judicial source said. 

The man had allegedly persuaded his targets that sex with him would cure them of various spiritual afflictions, according to footage secretly filmed by a journalist posing as a potential client, in a report broadcast on private TV channel Al Hiwar Ettounsi.

The man had already been under investigation for suspicious activities on social media before the report was broadcast on Monday evening, according to Fatma Boukattaya, the spokeswoman for Ariana court in the Tunis suburbs.

The man, who called himself "Bolga Kahouli" on Facebook, had allegedly used social media to reel in his victims.

In the TV report, he said he was able to exorcise "black magic" through sex, with "guaranteed results".

He claimed to have "healed" as many as 900 women in this way.

"Tonight you will sleep with me and you will be 1,000 percent better," he told the journalist.

After a "consultation" to discuss her supposed problems, he advised her to undergo 14 sessions of sex with him, for a total of 210 dinars ($70).

One of his alleged victims, a 25-year-old student, said she had been exploited in this way for three years.

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