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Shaman acquitted in death of Lithuanian woman in Cyprus

ayahuasca, shaman, DMT, psychoactive drugs
File photo: An Ayahuasca ceremony

Larnaca Criminal Court absolved and acquitted a 49-year-old Colombian shaman, in the prima facie stage, being charged for prescribing a harmful substance to a Lithuanian permanent resident of Cyprus, which led to her death, reports said on Friday.

The court acquitted Segundo Crispin Buesaquillo for giving a harmful substance to Sandra Maluha, 34, during a spiritual ceremony in August 2019 at a home in Aradippou.

The shaman was facing a charge of supplying a class A drug, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a powerful psychedelic substance.

The woman was allegedly given DMT to take but was not told what it was. After ingesting it, she fainted and was rushed to Larnaca General, where she was pronounced dead.

He plead not guilty to the charges brought against him, which were causing a death due to negligence and maliciously supplying a harmful substance, which endangered another person’s life.

The prosecution called six witnesses, and 32 pieces of evidence were submitted during the hearing.

However, the court decided a prima facie acquittal for causing the death of the woman, as had been the recommendation of the shaman’s lawyers.

The court based its decision on the testimony given by Maria Afxentiou, who works at the state general laboratory.

According to the court, “at no point in her testimony, even if it is accepted that the aforementioned substance (DMT) was in the mixture, which the accused is suspected of having given to the dead woman, did she [Afxentiou] mention that DMT along with harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine that are ingredients in the drink ayahuasca caused the death of Sandra Maluha.”

The court also said that none of the testimonies linked Maluha’s death with her ingestion of ayahuasca.  The court also pointed out that in his testimony, state pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous, who conducted the post-mortem, could not clearly say that the pulmonary embolism the woman died from was linked to her taking ayahuasca.

Back in 2019, Maluha had participated in the spiritual ceremony, where the substance was going to be used. Participation was set at €150, and the shaman was among the participants.

After the woman died, the man fled from the island, and was eventually arrested on a European arrest warrant in Spain, and turned over to Cypriot authorities.

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