Smoking Cannabis A Religious Right

A RASTAFARIAN held on drug possession charges has told a court that smoking cannabis is part of his religion. Amos Mupfudza, through his lawyer, asked Harare magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini on Wednesday to refer his case to the Supreme Court. Mupfudza, 39, was arrested by detectives acting on a tip-off in Greendale, Harare, on January 22. He had cannabis stashed in seven small plastic packets which investigators believe he intended to sell on the streets. His lawyer, Tawanda Zhuwarara, of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told a Harare magistrate Mupfudza had been tortured while in police custody. “My client will not receive a fair trial in this court and we ask that the case be referred to the Supreme Court because his arrest and subsequent torture in police custody were a violation of his constitutional rights,” Zhuwarara argued. Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court made a landmark decision in 2009 when it halted the trial of human rights activist Jestina Mukoko, who had been charged with banditry, sabotage and terrorism after ruling that her illegal detention and torture by police was a violation of his constitutional rights. Mupfudza, the lawyer added, would also ask the Supreme Court to recognise his use of cannabis as part of his Section 19 constitutional right to “freedom of thought and of religion… and freedom, whether alone or in community with others, and whether in public or in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief through worship, teaching, practice and observance.” The magistrate will rule on the application for referral on Thursday. Earlier this year, a dreadlocked four-year-old who had been barred from attending school was readmitted after his father appealed to the High Court. Mbalenhle Dube was turned away from Masiyephambili Junior School in Bulawayo for breaking the school’s hair policy. His father, Khumbulani Dube, argued that his family was Rastafarian, and dreadlocks were part of their religion. High Court judge Martin Makonese granted the appeal, and the young boy returned to school.

via : newzimbabwe

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