A Colombian ‘shaman’, extradited to Cyprus last month, who has been implicated in the death of a Latvian woman during an Ayahuasca ceremony in 2019 is to go to trial on September 29, the Larnaca court ruled on Wednesday.
He will remain in custody until then.
A 53-year-old woman from Russia who is also implicated in the case will go to trial on the same date, the court ruled. The woman, who is believed to be the organiser of the event, did not appear in court on Wednesday but was arrested after the death of the 34-year-old Latvian woman in August 2019.
Charges have been pending since then but had not been brought against her until now on the instructions of the attorney-general’s office on the grounds that the main suspect had skipped the country.
The woman, and the Colombian suspect, 45, who was extradited from Spain on a European arrest warrant, face charges of causing death by reckless, negligent or dangerous acts, conspiracy to commit a felony, interference with judicial proceedings, unlawful possession, and supply and use of a Class A drug.
The man was handed over to Cyprus a week ago and appeared at the Larnaca court last Friday where he was remanded for five days.
The case centres on the death the Latvian woman during a ‘spiritual ceremony’ in Aradippou in 2019.
Police investigations showed that the victim had gathered with a group in a private house where they took Ayahuasca, a narcotic tea native to South America that causes altered states of consciousness, including hallucinations and altered perceptions of reality. It has become popular in the West for ‘spiritual quests’, but it remains mostly illegal and is classed as a narcotic.
Investigations started on August 27, 2019 when the woman was rushed to Larnaca general hospital after falling unconscious. She was pronounced dead on arrival at Larnaca general hospital.
The suspect fled to Vienna the following day. Although an arrest warrant was issued immediately, the suspect only surfaced last week in Spain.
After he was arrested, police discovered that between May 2018 and August 2019, the suspect had visited Cyprus four times to run the ‘spiritual ceremonies’ for which participants paid €150 each.