By Australian Associated Press
Brazil and the Netherlands have recalled their ambassadors from Indonesia and expressed fury after Jakarta defied their pleas and executed two of their citizens along with four other drug offenders.
The other convicts to face a firing squad were from Vietnam, Malawi, Nigeria and Indonesia. The six were the first people executed under new President Joko Widodo.
Indonesia has tough anti-drugs laws and Widodo, who took office in October, has disappointed rights activists by voicing support for capital punishment despite his image as a reformist.
He defended the executions, saying drugs ruin lives.
A spokesman for Brazilian President Dilma Roussef said she was “distressed and outraged” after Indonesia ignored her last-ditch pleas and put to death Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, who was convicted of smuggling cocaine into Indonesia in 2004.
“Using the death penalty, which is increasingly rejected by the international community, seriously affects relations between our countries,” the spokesman said in a statement.
The Brazilian ambassador to Jakarta was being recalled for consultations, the spokesman added.
Meanwhile Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said the Netherlands had also recalled its ambassador over the execution of Dutchman Ang Kiem Soei, and in a statement described all six deaths as “terribly sad”.
“My heart goes out to their families, for whom this marks a dramatic end to years of uncertainty,” Koenders said. “The Netherlands remains opposed to the death penalty.”
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte had been in contact with the Indonesian president about the matter, he said, and the government had done “all in its power” to try to halt the execution.
Widodo on Sunday defended the death penalty in a Facebook post.
“The war against the drug mafia should not be half-hearted measures, because drugs have really ruined the good life of the drug users and their families,” he said.
“There is no happiness in life to be gained from drug abuse. The country must be present and fight with drug syndicates head-on,” he added.
“A healthy Indonesia is Indonesia without drugs.”
All the prisoners, who had been sentenced to death between 2000 and 2011, were executed shortly after midnight, the attorney general’s office said.
All had their appeals to the president for clemency rejected last month.
Jakarta had an unofficial moratorium on executions for several years from 2008 but resumed capital punishment again in 2013. There were no executions last year.
Widodo, known as Jokowi, has taken a particularly hard line towards people on death row for narcotics offences, insisting they will not receive a presidential pardon since Indonesia is facing an “emergency” over drug use.
Following Sunday’s executions, the number of people on death row for drugs-related offences stood at 60, around half of whom are foreigners, said a spokesman for the national narcotics agency.
Widodo’s tough stance has sparked concern for other foreigners sentenced to death, particularly two Australians who were part of the Bali Nine group caught trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia in 2005.
One of the pair, Myuran Sukumaran, also had his clemency appeal rejected last month but authorities say he will be executed with fellow Australian Andrew Chan as they committed their crime together.
Chan is still awaiting the outcome of his clemency appeal.
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Cannabis may treat as well as prevent non-alcohol related fatty liver disease, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Hepatology, and published online by the National Institute of Health.
According to researchers; “Obesity and associated metabolic syndrome have quickly become a pandemic and a major detriment to human health globally. The presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD; hepatosteatosis) in obesity has been linked to the worsening of the metabolic syndrome, including the development of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease.”
They continue; “Currently, there are few options to treat NAFLD, including life style changes and insulin sensitizers. Recent evidence suggests that the cannabinoids Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidiol (CBD) improve insulin sensitivity; we aimed at studying their effects on lipid levels.”
After examining the effects THCV and CBD on lipid levels using “a variety of in vitro and in vivo systems, with special emphasis on models of hepatosteatosis”, it was found that “THCV and CBD directly reduce accumulated lipid levels in vitro in a hepatosteatosis model and adipocytes. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance- (NMR) based metabolomics confirmed these results and further identified specific metabolic changes in THCV and CBD-treated hepatocytes.”
Researchers note that; “Treatment also induced post-translational changes in a variety of proteins such as CREB, PRAS40, AMPKa2 and several STATs indicating increased lipid metabolism and, possibly, mitochondrial activity. These results are supported by in vivo data from zebrafish and obese mice indicating that these cannabinoids are able to increase yolk lipid mobilization and inhibit the development of hepatosteatosis respectively.”
The study concludes; “Our results suggest that THCV and CBD might be used as new therapeutic agents for the pharmacological treatment of obesity- and metabolic syndrome-related NAFLD/hepatosteatosis.”
The study, conducted by researchers in Italy and the U.K, can be found by clicking here.
The post Cannabis May Prevent and Treat Non-Alcohol Related Fatty Liver Disease appeared first on The Joint Blog.
How do we move from prohibition to legalization in my state?
That’s one of the most asked questions we hear every week at NORML.
With national media attention focusing on the favorable experience with legalization in Colorado and Washington, and on the not-yet-implemented legalization programs recently adopted in Oregon and Alaska, anyone living in a state that continues arresting and jailing marijuana smokers would naturally wonder why their state seems to have missed out on the drive to end marijuana prohibition.
More accurately, many of those states are lagging behind in the legalization movement, but that, too, will change. As we continue to gather data demonstrating these new laws are working as intended, with few unintended consequences, the drive to end marijuana prohibition will soon reach every state in the union, and beyond. We are no longer debating theory and conjecture; we now have real-life experiences that can be evaluated, and that data resource will grow with each new state.
Patience and persistence still required
We all need to accept the reality that changing public policy is a complex process that requires financial resources, re-education and political organizing. Following more than 75 years of criminal prohibition, and “reefer madness” propaganda by our state and federal governments, many Americans — especially older Americans — hold a negative view of marijuana and marijuana smoking, believing it presents a risk to health or public safety.
Since all but a few of us have lived under prohibition for our entire lives, it is understandable that many would presume there must have been some justification for those tens of millions of marijuana arrests. Surely our own government would not needlessly wreak havoc on all those lives and careers without a good reason.
By Drug Policy Alliance
Property Seizures by Local and State Police Often Conducted Under Pretext that Property Is Connected to Illegal Drugs
WASHINGTON, DC — [On Friday], Attorney General Eric Holder issued an order establishing a new policy prohibiting federal agencies from accepting civil asset forfeiture assets seized by state and local law enforcement agencies unless the owner is convicted of a crime. The U.S. Treasury Department, which has its own forfeiture program, is issuing a similar policy. The Department of Justice becomes involved after a state or local law enforcement agency seizes property pursuant to state law and requests that a federal agency take the seized asset and forfeit it under federal law.
For years, advocates have criticized the Department of Justice practice of accepting and processing seized assets such as cash, cars and other property from state and local law enforcement agencies through its Equitable Sharing Program, which retains 20 percent of the proceeds from the seizure received from a state or local law enforcement agency and returns 80 percent of the proceeds to the state or local law enforcement agency that initiated the seizure. The practice has enabled some state and local law enforcement to bypass state laws that prohibit police departments from keeping the proceeds from civil asset forfeiture or impose a stricter legal standard for seizing property.
The Washington Post has recently documented widespread abuse of this practice, usually as part of carrying out the war on drugs.
Bipartisan support for civil asset forfeiture reform is growing in Congress. Last week, key congressional leaders including Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) and Mike Lee (R-UT), signed a letter calling on Holder to end the Equitable Sharing program that was the subject of the policy change today. Sen. Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over the Equitable Sharing Program, has named civil asset forfeiture as one of his top legislative priorities for this year.
In 2014, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced legislation to reform asset forfeiture and is expected to soon reintroduce this legislation with bipartisan support. Advocates applaud Attorney General Holder’s decision to prohibit state and local law enforcement from utilizing the Equitable Sharing program for most civil asset forfeiture seizures but urge Congress to pass legislation that makes this reform permanent and fixes federal forfeiture more broadly.
“First, sentencing reform, then marijuana reform, and now asset forfeiture reform,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Eric Holder will go down in history for his pivotal role in addressing the excesses and abuses of law enforcement in America.”
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