Middle East

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."

Dubai: US citizen in the dock for hash-laced gummy bears

Posted on December 21st, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastA US citizen is in court in the Persian Guld emirate of Dubai for possession of gummy-bear sweets laced with hashish, the United Arab Emirate's The National newspaper reported Dec. 20. Prosecutors told the Dubai Criminal Court that the defendant, identified only as "JD," had brought the cannabis candy in from the US. Working as a manager in the Emirates, JD was busted in July at a cafe by narcotics officers acting on a tip. He was apparently intimidated into accompanying the officers to his residence, where he spilled the beans±or the bears. "He opened his fridge and picked up a plastic bag full of gummy bears," testified a police major. Nonetheless, in his court appearance this week, JD pleaded ignorance. "I used it but I didn't know what it was at the time because it was inside the sweets," JD told the judges.  

Egypt: author faces prison for writing about hashish

Posted on December 16th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Middle EastEgyptian activist attorney Nasser Amin is challenging a law that calls for writers to be imprisoned for words that violate the country's "morals." The challenge comes in the trial of novelist Ahmed Naji, who could face two years in prison and a fine of nearly $1,300 for his work The Use of Life—because of its explicit sex scene and numerous references to hashish use. Amin argues that the law violates the Egyptian constitution, which only permits such punishment for published materials that are defamatory or encourage violence or discrimination.

Israeli vets see empty promise in medical marijuana program

Posted on December 10th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Middle EastAfter years of research into the question, in July of last year Israeli authorities made post-traumatic stress disorder the only psychiatric condition for which the Health Ministry will approve the use of medical marijuana. The decision, backed by the Israel Psychiatric Association, was a cause for optimism among many Israeli veterans suffering from PTSD. But a sobering account in Israeli daily Haaretz Dec. 8 finds that actually getting the stuff has proved difficult for sufferers—starting with the problem of getting the necessary doctor's recommendation, and then bureaucratic obstacles once they do. "We are a very small group of three or four psychiatrists who believe that in some PTSD cases cannabis is helpful," said psychiatrist Dr. Ilya Reznik, an Israeli executive board member of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines. "The pressure on our clinics is impossible. This is partly because people who get a permit and don’t come in every three months for follow-up risk losing their permit."

Saudi Arabia: hashish busts drop under harsh crackdown

Posted on December 7th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle East Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry announced last month that authorities in the desert kingdom have seized more than 28 tons of hashish and some 22 million amphetamine pills over the past eight months, as well as 57 pounds (26 kilograms) of heroin. They also  arrested 1,776 suspected smugglers and seized 1,230 weapons, including 184 automatic rifles. This actually represents a drop in interceptions from the previous year's figures, also announced at the end of Islamic calendar. The Ministry's Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki attributed the decline to escalated security along the border and harsh punishments for convicted smugglers. (Saudi Gazette, Nov. 17)

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