NY Judge: Religion Aside, Monkey Meat Needs Permit

By: AP
By: AP
U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie ruled Wednesday that a Liberian woman

The World Conservation Union says 114 of a total of 394 primate species are endangered because of environmental damage, being sold for meat, and illegal trade in wildlife. Above: a Delacour's Langur, resting in a treetop. (AP/Conservation International/HO)

NEW YORK (AP) _ A federal judge in Brooklyn has rejected a
Liberian woman's religious reasons for smuggling endangered monkey
meat into the country.

U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie ruled Wednesday that Mamie
Manneh's faith didn't preclude her from applying for permits to
import exotic food or explain why she misled officials.

Manneh was charged with smuggling the meat three years ago after
customs agents seized a shipment of primate parts as it passed
through Kennedy Airport on the way to her home in Staten Island.

Manneh's lawyers claimed a First Amendment right, arguing that some Liberian Christians eat monkey meat for spiritual reasons.

Her lawyer didn't respond to phone messages Saturday.

She faces up to five years in prison and deportation if convicted.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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