Somali files judicial protest for compensation
A Somali who spent a year in preventive arrest but was then found not guilty of importing Khat from London has filed a judicial protest for compensation.
Ten kilogrammes of khat were found in the luggage of Aweys Maani Khayre at the airport in May last year. He claimed he brought the khat to celebrate his birthday with family and friends and was not aware it was illegal in Malta.
The plant has been chewed by east Africans for hundreds of years and plays a big part in the social lives of both men and women. But it is banned across America, Canada and most of Europe. It is legal in Britain.
Defence lawyers José Herrera and Veronique Dalli had argued that since their client had imported the plant and not the active extract cathinone and cathine, he was not committing a crime.
Magistrate Miriam Hayman found him guilty and jailed him for six months. However, he was immediately freed as he had already served more than the jail term in preventative arrest.
On appeal, he was found not guilty.
Friday, 6th November 2009 - 14:44CET