Saturday, December 12, 2009

Monkey Meat Probation

A Liberian woman (seen above) who was caught smuggling monkey meat through customs has been sentenced to 3 years probation.
Mamie Manneh was arrested back in 2006 after agents discovered a shipment of dozens of primate parts hidden in a batch of smoked fish.
The boxes included the skulls, limbs and torsos of monkeys and baboons.
A visit two days later from U.S. Fish and Wildlife uncovered a small hairy arm which she identified as "monkey" which she received as "as a gift from God in heaven." Later, she backed down on the claim that she didn't import the meat and claimed that eating it was a religious expression which should be protected by the first amendment.
Manneh's lawyers argued that she and other Liberian immigrants in the New York City borough of Staten Island needed the meat for religious reasons.
Her fellow church members from Christ Memorial Christian Church on Staten Island and a number of academic experts supported her, although her minister did not
Prosecution witnesses testified that primate meat could lead to the spread of diseases, including Ebola, measles, tuberculosis, monkeypox and retroviruses similar to HIV.
Federal prosecutors accused Ms. Manneh of breaking all kinds of federal laws by illegally importing 65 pieces of smoked bushmeat, including primate parts, into the country in January 2006.
Ms. Manneh and members of Christ Memorial Christian Church, maintained that eating primate parts conforms with their religious beliefs. Doing so connects them with the cunning and agile animal’s spiritual power while also helping them "get closer to God."
The judge ultimately gave Manneh a lighter sentence, because,
she has 11 children and is mentally ill.