Mi­raa mer­chants in Qatar face ex­e­cu­tion

State of­fi­cial says khat is a health hazard

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - KIRIMI MURITHI @Mu­rithik

The Qatari govern­ment has is­sued stiffer penal­ties for mi­raa traders, in­clud­ing death.

Di­rec­tor gen­eral of Nar­cotics Con­trol in Qatar Col Abdu Rahim Qassim Al Farsi said mi­raa smug­glers may face life sen­tences or the death penalty if caught by the Royal Oman Po­lice.

The pun­ish­ments are spelled out in the Nar­cotics and Psy­chotropic Sub­stances law.

In June 2014, mi­raa exports to the United King­dom were banned by then Home Sec­re­tary Theresa May. It is re­ported the stim­u­lant is still smug­gled into the coun­try.

In Oc­to­ber last year, Nassin Badhi was sen­tenced to 18 months in prison af­ter she pleaded guilty to smug­gling 81kg of mi­raa worth Sh3.12 mil­lion through Heathrow Air­port from Jo­han­nes­burg. KHAT USE IL­LE­GAL Apart from Ye­men, all other Arab Gulf states have banned the use of mi­raa.

A senior of­fi­cial of the ROP said there has been an in­crease in mi­raa smug­gling into Qatar hence, the lat­est warn­ing. The ROP said 27 cases were re­ported in which 58 peo­ple were in­volved and 10,240 bun­dles of khat seized be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber.

Dur­ing the same pe­riod 18 smug­gling at­tempts were foiled and 2,560kg seized.

Al Farsi said chew­ing mi­raa is a health hazard and is no less dan­ger­ous than any other drug that af­fects men­tal and phys­i­cal health. “Any­one found chew­ing mi­raa will be fined. Th­ese types of drugs give the il­lu­sion that the user is more ac­tive and it is noth­ing more than a syn­thetic feel­ing.”


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