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Cambodian Official Charged With Smuggling Long-Tailed Macaques Released By US Court

UNITED STATES: The Director of the Cambodian Forestry Administration, Kry Mekphal, was released on bail by a US court on Wednesday, 28 December 2022. This is according to the announcement of the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed that Kry Mekphal was released on bail by a US court after two US lawyers defended him with necessary and timely assistance from the Cambodian Embassy in the United States, the State Department, the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, international operations and the Royal Government of Cambodia.

"It is the duty of the Royal Government of Cambodia to ensure justice for all Cambodian officials, including Kry Mekphal, who faced problems while on a mission abroad for national interest," the Ministry of Agriculture wrote.

According to the Ministry, the decision to release Kry Mekphal is a positive step and is good news for the official and his family, especially his children, after he was taken away by authorities and unable to communicate with them for over a month now.

The Ministry of Agriculture has stated that Mr. Phal's case will go through a series of court proceedings in the United States.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia will continue to provide the necessary legal assistance and support to Mr. Phal until this case comes to an end to seek justice for him,” wrote the Ministry.

Kry Mekphal was detained by US authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York while waiting to attend the CITES Convention on Endangered Species in Panama on 16 November 2022.

The US Department of Justice has accused Kry Mekphal of illegally smuggling long-tailed macaques to the United States.

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