Judge: Religion Aside, Monkey Meat Needs Permit

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

Judge Raymond Dearie ruled 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.

She faces up to five years in prison and deportation if convicted. Her lawyers claimed a First Amendment right, arguing that some Liberian Christians eat monkey meat for spiritual reasons.

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

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