Middle East

Iran: outrage over mass execution of drug convicts

Posted on September 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Middle EastInternational outrage over the mounting wave of executions in Iran reached another milestone Aug, 27, when 12 drug convicts were hanged at Karaj Central Prison outside Tehran. Days earlier, when the 12 were transferred to solitary confinement at the Karaj facility in preperation for the executions, the United Nations issued an urgent plea. UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, called on the Islamic Republic to stay the executions immediately. After they were carried out, Shaheed's response was harsh.

Medical cannabis kosher for Passover

Posted on April 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

kosher cannabisOn the eve of the Passover holiday, a breakthough is reported in the controversy over whether cannabis is kosher. The Times of Israel just couldn't resist the smart-alecky lede: "Getting baked on Passover is no longer just for matzah, a leading Orthodox rabbi ruled, after sniffing (but not smoking) some cannabis leaves..." Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Israel's leading Orthodox halachic (Jewish law) authority, ruled that cannabis is kosher for Passover and can be either eaten or smoked over the eight-day festival, during which strict dietary laws apply. Kanievsky issued the ruling in response to a query from the cannabis advocacy group Siach—which means both "plant" and "conversation" in Hebrew.

Iran under pressure to drop death penalty for drug offenses

Posted on April 15th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Middle EastUN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on April 14 issued a statement appealing to Iran to halt executions for drug offenses until the country's parliament debates a new law that would eliminate the mandatory death penalty for drug-related crimes. The statements came in response to the hanging of five men over the weekend, three of them on charges of narcotics trafficking. In at least one of those cases, a man sentenced to death in 2012 for possession of crystal meth, there were serious concerns about the fairness of the trial and denial of the right to appeal. The statement noted lthat ast year, at least 966 people were executed in Iran—the highest rate in more than two decades. The majority were hanged for drug offenses. At least four of those executed in 2015 were juveniles.

Palestinian police in West Bank cannabis raid

Posted on March 15th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Middle EastPalestinian police on March 12 raided a plant nursery in the West Bank village of Yasid, north of Nablus, and discovered more than 2,000 saplings of "narcotic hybrid cannabis" growing in seven greenhouses. A Palestinian Authority police spokesperson said in a statement the bust was part of an ongoing crackdown on drug use across the West Bank. Two suspects found on scene were arrested after attempting to flee the scene, the spokesperson told the indpendent Ma'an News Agency. The report did not mention what was done with the seized cannabis, but it was presumably incinerated.

Iran: every man in village 'executed on drug charges'

Posted on March 1st, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Middle EastAmid the alarming surge in executions by Iran comes the news that every man in one village has apparently been executed on drug charges. Shahindokht Molaverdi, the cabinet member for women and family affairs, made the admission while urging the government to provide increased aid for convicts' families.  "We have a village in Sistan and Baluchestan [province] where every single man has been executed," she was quoted by Iran's Mehr news agency, in comments picked up and translated into English by the UK Independent.  "Today their children are potential drug traffickers; either because they will seek revenge for the deaths of their fathers or because they will need to financially provide for their families, as a result of lack of support by the government."

Beheaded for hashish in Saudi Arabia —again

Posted on February 17th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle East Saudi Arabia's relentless campaign of beheadings continued Feb. 17 with the execution of three drug convicts, AFP reports—bringing to 63 the number of people put to death so far this year. Two Yemeni nationals accused of bringing hashish into the kingdom were were executed in the southwestern city of Jazan, near the border.  A Saudi national was meanwhile executed in the northern region of Tabuk after his conviction for smuggling amphetamines. The desert kingdom seems set to make a new record in beheadings this year—having executed 47 people in a single day on Jan. 2 for "terrorism."

Syrian hashish harvest workers stranded in Lebanon

Posted on December 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastWe noted a year ago that ISIS was burning the cannabis fields in its areas of control in Syria (even as reports mount that the entire "Islamic State" army is hyped up on speed). In Lebanon's hashish haertland of the Bekaa Valley, meanwhile, cannabis growers have been arming to defend their turf, crops and livelihood in case ISIS invades. Now, both Reuters and National Public Radio have run reports over the past week on the plight of seasonal migrant laborers who come from Syria to the Bekaa to help harvest cannabis and produce hashish—activities just winding down now. But those who have come this year from the Syrian province of Raqqa cannot return home. Raqqa is now controlled by ISIS, its eponymous provinicial capital the de facto capital of the "Islamic State." And if word got out that these migrant laborers had worked in the hashish industry, they'd be marked for death.

Tunisia Pirate Party adopts cannabis leaf logo

Posted on December 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

North AfricaTunisia, the first country to rise up and throw off its long dictatorship when revolution began to sweep the Arab world in 2011, is seen as the success story of the Arab Spring. With a new secular constitution, progressive forces have prevailed peacefully over an Islamist backlash. Rappers and feminist artists have become icons of the revolution. Now, Green Rush Daily reports that the Pirate Party of Tunisia has chosen to use the marijuana leaf as its identifying logo on the country’s ballot. It cites a write-up in Pirate Times, international organ of the movement, that "the Pirate Party of Tunisia has decided to participate in the next elections by highlighting the hemp symbol on its lists, which will attract the voters of those who support this cause."

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