From Iceland — Suspect In Khat Case Remains In Custody

Suspect In Khat Case Remains In Custody

Published June 7, 2011

A man suspected of having tried to smuggle khat through Iceland to parts unknown will remain in police custody, the Supreme Court has ruled.
As Grapevine reported, police in Reykjavík arrested last month four men suspected of attempting to send 60 kilos of khat to North America. Authorities believe the suspects did not intend to sell the plant in Iceland.
Vísir now reports that an Irish citizen in custody with the other three in connection with the case will remain in custody here rather than be extradited. This is due in part to the fact that the khat was packed here in Iceland, even if it was meant for export.
Khat is a plant which grows particularly in Ethiopia and Somalia. It is chewed when fresh, producing a mild stimulant effect. It is, however, banned in the US, Canada, and all European countries except Holland and the UK.
Bjarni Harðarson, former member of parliament and current PR manager for the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, wrote on his blog that “if khat is a drug then it is a double standard of ours to classify it as a drug. The substance is allowed in Britain, and as the substance is considered about as addictive as coffee, the effects are insignificant. It is a very natural substance and has a long tradition behind it, but maybe there is still no reason to allow it here up north.”

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