Church unshackles patients following govt pressure

Eight mentally ill patients at the St John's Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Etwatwa, east of Johannesburg, have been unshackled following pressure from the department of health. Earlier reports said church officials had shackled the patients as a means of curing them from their mental illness.

However, the shackles were removed following complaints lodged by the Central Gauteng Mental Health Society and the Human Rights Commission. They argued that the shackling of mentally ill patients was a gross violation of human rights.

Meanwhile Christopher Tabudi, a spokesperson for the church, says the church will operate within the confines of the law. "We have unshackled them because the health department says what we are doing is wrong, now we do not want to go against the government."