Release Of Albanian Farmers

The four Albanian farmers who have been erroneously held in custody for over a month by the Albanian authorities on charges of growing cannabis drugs have been released and all charges dropped. A further round of analysis of the crops involved, which was orchestrated by the farmers' lawyer in Tirana, Mr Shaqir Hasani, and conducted by various Albanian experts, has confirmed that the crop is industrial hemp.

In mid July, the Albanian police carried out a mass raid of the areas surrounding the town of Dedaj in Northern Albania, destroying the crop and arresting four of the farmers, with another four, including the area's mayor going into hiding. The international project was aimed at providing much needed employment and income to this economically disadvantaged community. The hemp project was initiated and funded by Partnership for Growth, a Worthing based charity, after discussions with the Albanian authorities over a number of years. The hemp was to be used to make rugs which would be exported back for sale in the UK.

The particular variety of industrial hemp seed provided by the charity for the project is approved by the European Commission. This type typically contains such low levels of the psychoactive ingredient that it would be impossible for it to be used as a narcotic.

Legal advice has been provided to the charity and assistance given to the...

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