Si bien la decisión de prohibir el khat ha suscitado relativamente poca polémica en Gran Bretaña, sí ha provocado protestas en Kenya, donde proporciona un medio de vida a miles de agricultores.
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The Home Secretary, Theresa May, is being sued in a case funded by the Kenyan government after she criminalised a herbal stimulant using by thousands of Africans living in Britain. Earlier this year the Home Office announced a ban on the import, sale and possession of khat (Catha edulis) – a leaf widely chewed or made into tea across Africa and the Middle East. Its effects are said to be similar to, but less intense, than those of cocaine with side effects that can include insomnia and depression.
While the decision to ban khat has been relatively uncontroversial in Britain it has sparked protests in Kenya – where it is an important source of export income and provides a livelihood for thousands of farmers.
Now documents lodged at the High Court on behalf of a khat trader in London, and financed by the Kenyan government, claim the ban breaches the human rights of khat users.