the favourable court ruling about the Santo Daime religion
on Monday, April 21, 2001, we we're waiting for the news
about the possibility of the prosecutor to use his right
to appeal the verdict. Hans Bogers (Céu dos Ventos)
is informing us that NOW we can really celebrate!
the favourable court ruling about the Santo Daime religion,
I have waited a little more to share some experiences during
the process of legalisation.
the legal structure of the Dutch law, both the defendant and
the prosecutor, have 14 days after the verdict is spoken to
go into appeal with a superior court. Today we were informed
by the court that the prosecutor had not used his right to
appeal the verdict about the religious use of ayahuasca in
the Netherlands. Therefore the decision from the Amsterdam
District Court of May 21st 2001, is now effective and guarantees
by law the Santo Daime churches their right to practise their
religion, including the right to consecrate the sacred beverage
Santo Daime in their rituals.
the last court-session the prosecutor had already mentioned,
informally, that he did not plan to make an appeal, when the
judges should decide favourable for the churches. "But, I
do not know what my superiors are going to decide in this
case," he said, mentioning the political dimension of this
for the Dutch government sensitive case.
the decision of the judges was made on the basis of the relatively
new European laws, this ruling of a Dutch court can have strong
implications for other countries of the European Economic
Community. It is virtually impossible to be in an united Europe
and to be in one country an acknowledged and by law protected
member of a religious organisation, and in the next country
to be prosecuted like a criminal.
news of the acceptance of the prosecutor (and therefore: the
Ministry of Justice) of the positive decision, shows that
the verdict of the Amsterdam District Court has been looked
at thoroughly by the authorities. From a technical legal position
as well from the political angle, no realistic possibilities
for appeal by the government were found. This means that the
verdict is solid and effective, opening the way for other
European countries to take on the challenge for the legalisation
of our religion.
that the legal structure for legalisation is tested and proved
to be valid under European law, it remains vital to present,
in other cases in other countries, our religious convictions
before the court as well as possible. It is interesting to
observe that in the actual decision of the Amsterdam court
basically all the arguments for legalisation were quoted from
arguments the defence brought in.
verdict takes into strong consideration that the churches
brought various experts from leading universities, who gave
written and verbal testimonies to help the court form their
opinion. Now that this legal precedent has opened the way
for ayahuasca use in a religious setting in Holland, it is
even more an invitation to organise and meet with allies who
can help in the freedom of religion in the whole of Europe
(and the U.S., and other civilised countries!)
the Entheogenic Religions the Third Millennium has started
with a formal recognition and acceptance of our religious
rights in Holland. I feel it to be a big responsibility and
a great challenge and I hope that this breakthrough will give
inspiration and courage to our brothers and sisters in conditions
which are looking as almost impossible. When I started the
preparation of this case, now seven years ago, nobody (including
myself!) believed seriously, that the acceptance which was
reached today, could be realised.
when the divine beings who are guiding our actions through
our sacred beverage Santo Daime, indicate that they are willing
to work for the wellbeing of the European people, even international
druglaws are effectively put aside.
Viva a liberdade do Santo Daime!
With best wishes,
Céu dos Ventos
Den Haag, Holland