A teenager from Cameroon was crucified and tortured during a week-long exorcism performed by four former members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Three men and one woman appeared in a court in France accused of torture after the 19-year-old victim was found at a housing estate in Grigny, in the southern suburbs of Paris.
She was emaciated, dehydrated, had been beaten and was in a state of shock, AFP reports.
The four accused allegedly tied up the woman, known only as Antoinette, in the position of Christ on the cross. She was kept bound to a mattress for seven days.
One of the men on trial is the woman's former boyfriend, Eric Deron, who is believed to have instigated the assault. Prosecutors say he had delusions of being a prophet on a divine mission.
Introduced through church
According to a statement from Deron, he organised the exorcism after Antoinette jumped on him and started babbling incomprehensibly. He believed this was a sign she had been possessed by the devil.
The victim said she had been kept alive by her alleged attackers during the exorcism by feeding her small amounts of oil and water.
Antoinette had met the four accused in 2008, three years before the attack took place, through the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
The church, a US-based Protestant Christian denomination that has millions of followers worldwide, said it had expelled the four accused in 2010. It said it does not condone exorcisms of this kind, nor is it justified in any of its teachings.
All four accused deny the charges of kidnapping, acts of torture and barbarism, saying she had agreed to the exorcism. The trial is expected to run for one week.