An evangelical Nicaraguan pastor and his four followers have been sentenced for throwing a woman on burning pyre during a so-called exorcism ritual.

According to reports, the 25-year-old Vilma Trujillo Garcia died in February after being stripped naked, tied up and thrown onto a fire. She was found by relatives after several hours with severe burns.

The 23-year-old pastor Juan Gregorio Rocha Romero, his siblings Tomasa and Pedro Rocha, and Franklin Jarquin and Esneyda Orozco, were found guilty of murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The suspects, except for Orozco, also received six years for illegal detention. The judge, however, has capped the jail time to 30 years, the BBC reported. All five were fined $522 (£403) each.

The pastor and his aides denied the killing, claiming that the devil had possessed Trujillo's body and dropped her into the fire.

"The suffering that Trujillo was subjected to is something no human being should go through," Judge Alfredo Silva said.

The victim had suffered burns to 80% of her body and died in a hospital in the capital city of Managua on 28 February after suffering for a week from the injuries. Family members of the woman had earlier said that she was attacked by the four men.

Her husband, Reynaldo Peralta Rodriguez, had said that she was taken to a church in El Cortzal, situated near the impoverished Rosita municipality, 20 miles from the town of Bonanza, when members thought she was possessed after allegedly trying to attack people with a machete.

"It's unforgivable what they did to us. They killed my wife, the mother of my two little ones. Now what am I going to tell them?" Rodriguez said just after his wife's death.

According to the AFP news agency, the men showed no remorse when the verdict was read out.