Belarus: arrest for medical cannabis

Israeli lawyer arrested in Minsk after discovery of small dose of medical cannabis

Israeli lawyer Maya Rayten-Stol was arrested in Minsk almost three weeks ago. She is suspected of drug trafficking after the discovery of 2.5 g of cannabis on her person. This lawyer has medical authorization from the Israeli Ministry of Health to buy and consume this substance. She was reportedly arrested upon arrival in the country. Rayten-Stol also clearly explained his situation to the Belarusian authorities, supporting official documents. Unfortunately for her, her explanations were ignored by the agents. It is said that the Israeli ambassador came to return him to prison, but his situation remains uncertain.

Jail closed for medical cannabis

The lawyer is currently in the infamous Pishchalauski Castle Prison. This place of confinement is the main prison for repeat offenders and political opponents of the Lukashenko regime. The inmate has only been allowed to make one phone call for three weeks. Maya Rayten-Stol’s parents spoke on Israeli television and pointed out the injustice of the situation. Monica Krozensky, Maya’s mother explained the events this way; “My daughter, my everything, my dear was arrested in Belarus for something that according to Israeli law is legal, but not for them.”

Her parents are very concerned about her as a woman in such a depressing prison environment. Maya Rayten-Stol is also raising her children alone, which in turn adds to her family’s distress. Under Belarusian law, the lawyer currently faces a prison term of three to five years. Her parents do not understand why she was not released in light of this particular situation. They are currently seeking help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A political accusation?

Maya Rayten-Stol uses cannabis not for recreational purposes but to treat health problems. Avi Himi, the president of the Israel Bar Association, is also asking the Israeli state for help. His request is supported by Sharon Nahari, a specialist in international law, who wrote a letter to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on behalf of the family. The ministry claimed to be in contact with the family and with the Israeli ambassador Alon Shoham in Belarus.

This case seems to recall a similar problem in Turkey not so long ago. Natali and Mordi Oknin were arrested and detained for eight days on charges of espionage. They were accused in particular of having photographed a presidential palace. Fortunately, the government had managed to free them and overturn these grotesque but very real accusations. However, this type of intervention is not the rule for the Israeli state. Furthermore, one wonders whether this firmness is not a pretext for the Belarusian state, which therefore offers itself as a potential bargaining chip in a period when the regime faces condemnations from all sides.

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