In the midst of the dark and tangled mess cannabis prohibition has brought on this world, some examples of its destruction are far more severe than others.
At the beginning of May, Marijuana.com shared the story of David Julian Wightman, a journalist and cannabis activist in Zambia. David was trying desperately to bring attention to the injustices that exist in his country, where large numbers of lower-class citizens are being jailed for simple possession.
In July, David became a victim of the system when police raided his home. Days prior, Zambian authorities declared a “state of emergency” due to an unrelated matter, that gave police extended authority to enter his residence.
David was not at home when the police arrived and his brother was arrested instead. David eventually turned himself in and his brother was released.
Yesterday, Marc informed Marijuana.com that he has provided financial assistance to David’s lawyer, in the hopes that it will end this ordeal sooner rather than later.
“Much to my chagrin, I found out that David is still languishing in jail,” said Marc. “The prosecution has accumulated evidence and made claims against him and it seems like they are looking for some serious time.”
Through his own legal counsel, Marc spoke with David’s lawyer, Keith Mweemba.
“It’s kind of fishy because [David’s] lawyer said that nothing is progressing on David’s file because there is no money to pay lawyers,” he said. “That seems odd, that a British Commonwealth country would not have duty counsel available for someone. So it may be a bribe for all I know, that has to be paid.”
Marc went into detail regarding his efforts and what he hopes will happen. “I just sent $1,000 Canadian and that translates into about $6,900 Zambian [Kwacha]. Hopefully that will be enough to at least get them working and get some information back out,” he said. “And hopefully the lawyer contacts me with an email or phone call and I can ask him questions as to David’s status, and what can be done that would be effective to get him out.”
Although Marc heard David was charged with trafficking, Marc says that information is not enough to form an opinion. “In a country with a state of emergency, with dubious legal procedures, we don’t know if that’s just [David being] set up.”
Marc received word that his donation to David’s cause has arrived and is on top of any news regarding the case. “I’ll be staying vigilant about David’s case now that I have the lawyer’s phone number and email address. [Because of the money] I have become a relevant party to the information. I’m sure David will be told that the money has been put in, so that hopefully will give him some positive feeling that things are going to move forward.”
Marc was also quick to note the importance of what David is doing as an activist in Zambia. “The thing about activism is, we need activists where the oppression is the worst. I admire when people stay where the fight needs to be fought most dearly.”
As this article is released, nightfall has come to the African country of Zambia. Within its borders is David Julian Wightman, going to bed in a jail cell, with the hope that his trial will be heard and his freedom will be granted.