Friday, February 7, 2014

Mongolia rejects request to return detained U.S. businessman

Mongolian law enforcement agencies have rejected a request by U.S. senators to lift the travel ban on a detained U.S. mining executive considered a potential witness in a government corruption case.

Justin Kapla, from the U.S. state of Minnesota, was president of SouthGobi Sands, a coal mining company operating in South Gobi province when he was blocked from leaving Mongolia in October 2012.

He was considered a witness in a corruption investigation of Dorjpurev Batkhuyag, former chairman of Mongolia's Mineral Resources

Authority and adviser to then Prime Minister Batbold Sukhbaatar who was jailed in February 2013.

Mongolian law forbids foreign witnesses or suspects in criminal cases to leave the country.

Repeated requests for the businessman's release by the U.S. Embassy to Mongolia have all been rejected.

The latest request was made by Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, who asked for Kapla's return to the United States on humanitarian grounds to spend some time with his ailing stepfather. (Cihan/Xinhua)

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