We have seen the reports that on February 26th, 2015, President Elbegdorj issued an official pardon to the three defendants in the South Gobi Sands trial, including American citizen Justin Kapla. We appreciate President Elbegdorj’s action.
Mr. Kapla’s lawyers have confirmed that he has been released from detention. We understand that resolution of this case also lifts the exit ban that was imposed on Mr. Kapla. We are pleased that he is now free to return to the United States, if he chooses.
Mr. Kapla’s case lasted nearly three years. The trial proceedings, as well as his subsequent detention, in addition to the prolonged exit ban, caused enormous hardship for Mr. Kapla. The U.S. Embassy closely monitored the case and provided all appropriate consular assistance.
The business community has made clear to us that this case negatively affects its assessment of Mongolia as a destination for foreign direct investment. We hope that in the future, the Mongolian authorities will conduct such cases through a fair and transparent process, in full accordance with Mongolian law.