Santo Daime Church Raided in Netherlands
- October 12 Raid on Santo Daime Church
- November 20 Protest Against Raid
- (See Also Trial Notes from March 2001)
Amsterdam - October 12, 1999 Raid on Santo Daime Church
Dear friends, I am very sorry to tell you the latest development in Holland. Last wednesday a service of the Santo Daime church was raided by Dutch police in Amsterdam. Geraldine Fijneman, head of the Amsterdam branch of the church, and Hans Bogers, head of the The Hague branch of the church were detained for 3 days. They are charged with leadership/membership of a criminal organisation with the intent to distribute the Schedule 1 drug DMT. The Amsterdam police raided the church after being tipped by the German police. Some weeks ago a Santo Daime service was raided in Germany. The Amsterdam police apparently followed one of the German Santo Daime members on his way to the Amsterdam church. The police waited until the ayahuasca was served before they entered the church. A Dutch historian told me this was the first time in several hundred years that authorities entered a church and arrested people. I feel personally (as a Dutchman) quite embarrassed by this violation of one of the basic human right, the right to freedom of religion. Not only the Santo Daime church in Holland is severely hampered by this situation, also the Amsterdam based Friends of the Forest are threatened by this brutal act of the police. The service of the Santo Daime church took place in a chapel that was hired by Friends of the Forest, together with the Amsterdam branch of the Santo Daime. Nor the Santo Daime, nor Friends of the Forest can conduct any services or rituals with ayahuasca anymore. But the chapel is hired until May 2000, and the landlord refused to finish the contract. Luckily both the Santo Daime and Friends of the Forest have the same laywer, a very talented and experienced woman. She knows the sacred brew from her own experiences. Apart from that she is a laywer known for her successes in the courtroom. I can't imagine the two arrested church leaders will get any sentence. Unfortunately it will take quite a while before the case will brought to court, and in the meantime both the Santo Daime and Friends of the Forest can't conduct any services or rituals
November 20 Demonstration in Amsterdam
Last saturday 20 november 1999 about one hundred people held a demonstration at the Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam. The demonstration was organised to protest against the raid on the Amsterdam Santo Daime church, and to demonstrate for the legalisation of ayahuasca. The demonstration was organised by people from Friends of the Forest and people from the ELF-building. Leading members of the Santo Daime church were not present, but their laywer was, and she brought good news: The prosecution feels embarrassed about the raid and asked last friday morning to stop the case. The laywer of the Santo Daime church refused to stop the case because the church wants to have a clear verdict from the court. It will take 4 to 6 months before the case comes to court. The demonstration had good media coverage. A local television station brought it in their news item, giving shots from happy people singing in front of a beautifully painted bus, plus interviews with a psychiatrist who told ayahuasca was a good substance, and an interview with me about the impossibillity to use ayahuasca in a recreational way. They also broadcasted a part of my speech, in which I compared Holland with China. This news item was repeated every hour for 24 hours. On monday two national newspapers brought long articles about the demonstration. One newspaper focused on the Santo Daime case, the other newspaper focused on the activities of Friends of the Forest. This is a translation of the speech I held on the Dam Square: "Good afternoon, my name is Arno Adelaars and I stand together with you here on the Dam Square in Amsterdam becauseIi am schocked by the behaviour of the Dutch Justice authorities. If I tell you the police raided a church while a service was going on, If I tell you the police arrested the pastors in their ceremonial robes, If i tell you the police threw the pastors in jail, you might think I am talking about China, or another country that is well known for its violation of human rights, But no. I don't talk about China, I talk about Holland. On October 6th of this year the Amsterdam police raided a chapel where the Santo Daime church was doing a service. The police started their raid when the service had been going on for approximately twenty to thirty minutes, and the ayahuasca, the holy sacrament was about to be served to the faithfull. According to the police ayahuasca contains a substance that is mentioned in the Dutch Opium Law. Apparently for the Amsterdam police the Opium Law is more important than Freedom of Religion. As we all know Freedom of Religion is one of the human rights as mentioned in the United Nations charter. We are here to protest against this violation of human rights. Apart from that we also demonstrate for the legalisation of ayahuasca. It is out of pure ignorance that DMT, one of the psychoactive ingredients in ayahuasca, was scheduled as a hard drug in the Dutch Opium Law in the 1960's. The criterion for a substance to be scheduled as a hard drug is: an unacceptably high risk to public health. In the case of ayahuasca, as with the case of the closely related psychoactive ingredients of psychedelic mushrooms, an unacceptably high risk to public health is out of the question. In the 1960's DMT, psilocybine and psilocine where scheduled as a hard drug. This happened because of pressure from the United States, a country well known for its drug hysteria. The Dutch lawmakers in that time didn't have the faintest idea what they actually scheduled. In this context I would like to quote an advisor of the Dutch minister of Public Health. This advisor, toxicologist professor De Wolff from Leiden Academic Hospital, said literally in this weeks Vrij Nederland Magazine: "To be honest, nobody could explain to me why these substances are a Schedule 1 drug. This applies in my opinion also for psilocine and psilocybine. We see a specific group of substances, mostly from botanical origin, that influence human consciousness, but don't have problematic side effects. We know from most of these substances that they are not addictive, and people don't show withdrawal symptoms when they stop using these substances. I don't understand why such a fuzz is made about substanbces that are even less toxic than marijuana." It looks like the Dutch Justice authorities have started their own War on Drugs. As you might remember the Dutch Justice authorities helped to organise the import of hundreds of thousands of kilo's of cannabis from Columbia. We heard of this news through a parliamentary enquiry some years ago. This year it became clear the same authorities looked into another direction during this operation. Some of the containers didn't contain Colubian cannabis: They contained at least 15000 kilo's of Columbian cocaine. I would like to say to the prosecutors and to the staff of the Amsterdam police: Stop this bullshit! Start chasing criminals. Do what you are hired for. Stop complaining about rising crime figures and the scarcity of police personnel if you waste your time with chasing people who didn't do anything wrong. Stop criminalising ayahuasca drinkers. Start chasing REAL criminals. No violation of human rights in the Netherlands! Long live ayahuasca! Viva Ayahuasca!"