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Disputes were private affairs and the state did not act as a prosecuting body. While prisons existed, they seem to have been used largely for political purposes. Debtors who could not pay their creditors became debt slaves. In some instances ordeals were used to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused person. Thus a man accused of sorcery was forced to jump into the river; if he drowned he was guilty but if he survived he was innocent and, in the latter eventuality, his accuser was put to death. Women had equal rights with men before the law and even debt slaves had legal rights.