Nicaraguan nightmare continues

Dr Paul Wylie, the Canadian botanist arrested by Nicaraguan authorities for his involvement in hemp cultivation, remains in prison.
Wylie was employed by Canadian company Hemp Agro, and last December he was tending their authorized industrial hemp plantation near Managua, Nicaragua, when armed government agents arrested him and destroyed the hemp fields.

Bolstered by a THC report from a DEA agent, the Nicaraguan government accused Hemp Agro and Wylie of growing marijuana instead of hemp.

Grant Sanders, a senior partner with Hemp Agro, told Cannabis Culture that he has been repeatedly assured by the Nicaraguan government that Wylie would be released from prison.

“Every week they tell us this is the week when he will be freed,” Sanders said in late October. “But the release date comes and he is not released. It is like torture.”

In a previous interview, Sanders complained that the Canadian government was not doing enough to free Wylie, or to protect him from dangerous prison conditions (see CC#20, Nicaraguan Nightmare).

Sanders’ complaints came to the attention of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“We don’t take lightly anything like this that happens to a Canadian citizen abroad,” said Reynald Doiron, a Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “[Minister of Foreign Affairs] Lloyd Axworthy personally raised the issue with Nicaraguan officials soon after the arrest. Our consul in Managua, Jack Adams, has visited Mr Wylie a number of times.”

Doiron said that although Wylie is suffering from a painful medical condition that could be improved by surgery, the imprisoned botanist is not in a life-threatening situation.

“We had helped facilitate a situation in which he would have had the surgery,” Doiron said, “but he decided to wait. His health and safety are being closely monitored. We are all awaiting the decision of a three judge panel that will make a decision about charges that he was involved in illegal activities.”

Meanwhile, Wylie has been imprisoned for almost a year without trial, and Nicaragua has squandered a unique opportunity to join the hemp revolution.