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Amsterdam Cannabis Cup shut down by police

By Marlene Werner

AMSTERDAM – Dutch police raided the 24th edition of the annual Cannabis festival Sep. 23, shutting down the expo, searching visitors at the exits and confiscating cannabis and hash, an affiliated magazine reported.

“You need to leave the building through the exits. When leaving the property, you will be subjected to a search by police [inaudible] of the opium act,” an announcement over loud speakers informed, as shown in a video posted on LiveLeaks by an attendee.

Uniformed officers entered the premises of Borchland, accompanied by several tax agents, and separated visitors from exhibitors, who were required to remain at their stands.

Police searched visitors before allowing them to leave, while revenue agents investigated illegal activities of present exhibitors.

Undercover investigations had uncovered violations of the Opium Act, with people giving away free samples of cannabis and hash to promote their products Sep. 22; facts that triggered the subsequent raid, a police officer was reported saying.

High Times, the festival’s host, reported that a misunderstanding about a permit application filed by the venue to host the event implicated the law enforcement.

The premises were emptied after two hours of police action; no attendees were arrested, while one vendor identified as surpassing Dutch legal cannabis possession limits.

“Wow. The Dutch Police have entered the cannabis cup and they are shutting us down. Sad day…,” High Times Magazine twittered as a response to the news.

Never before has the expo been raided in its 24-year long existence.

Restriction of the national cannabis market figures highly on the Dutch government’s agenda in recent times, with the introduction of a ‘wietpas’, which restricts cannabis’ sales to residents, waiting for implementation on a national level.

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Categories: Courts and Crime, Politics

Proceedings underway for Joran Van Der Sloot trial

By Stella Toonen

AMSTERDAM – Preparations for the criminal proceedings against Joran Van Der Sloot, accused of murdering Stephany Flores (21) in a hotel room in May 2010, started in the Peruvian capital, Lima Monday.

The Peruvian Court of Justice has yet to announce full details of the trail proceedings.

The defense teams for both Van der Sloot and Flores attended the meeting.

Edward Alvarez, lawyer of the Flores family, said the indictment involves both murder and robbery charges, which could lead to life imprisonment  sentence.

Máximo Altez, the defense attorney for 24-year-old Dutchman Van der Sloot, claims that the murder occurred under emotional circumstances.

Should the judge agree, such a scenario could significantly lower the punishment to between 6 and 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors have requested a thirty-year imprisonment sentence for Van Der Sloot.

Flores’ family believes this is too lenient.

Alvarez is pleased that the case will start soon.

In the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, he complained that Ministry of Justice officials had been slow in dealing with handling the case

According to Peruvian law, suspects can only be kept in jail without a verdict for one and a half years.

That would mean Van Der Sloot will have to be released in December this year, unless he gets convicted.

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