Canadian accused of killing Briton in Peru after ‘bad trip’ released

Joshua Stevens was found to have stabbed Unais Gomes in self-defence after the pair drank a hallucinogenic brew

A Canadian man who authorities say killed his British friend in self-defence after the two drank a hallucinogenic brew at a spiritual retreat in the Amazon has been released, a police chief said.

Joshua Stevens, 29, was freed on Friday because all evidence showed he stabbed his friend Unais Gomes, 26, in self-defence after Gomes tried to attack him with a knife, said Normando Marques, a police chief in the Amazonian city of Iquitos.

Stevens fiancee, Sarah-Anne Allen, said that all charges had been dropped and Stevens would be going home to Canada soon.

He is very shaken and sad, but he is coping, Allen said.

Canadas foreign affairs department said it was providing consular assistance to a citizen released from detention in Peru. It declined to identify the person in order to protect privacy.

Stevens and Gomes were taking part in a ceremony that used ayahuasca a hallucinogenic brew at the alternative health centre Phoenix Ayahuasca, near Iquitos. There, Gomes took a knife from the kitchen and tried to attack Stevens, witnesses told police.

Ayahuasca is a boiled blend of an Amazonian vine and dimethyltryptamine containing plants traditionally used by indigenous tribes in medical and spiritual ceremonies. It is not normally associated with violence.

A growing number of tourists have come to Peru in recent years to try the brew, many drawn by ayahuascas reputation as a way to ease depression, cure addiction or gain spiritual insights.

Contact information for Gomes family could not be found.

Phoenix Ayahuasca has not responded to requests for comment.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/18/canadian-accused-of-killing-briton-in-peru-after-bad-trip-released