Minn. man in Mongolian prison: 'A place that will take time off your life'

 A Minnesota man is stuck in deplorable conditions in a Mongolian prison as his family fights to get him out.

 An Elk River, Minn. man is serving several years in a Mongolian prison for tax evasion, and his family contends he's innocent. Meanwhile, he's facing deplorable conditions.

More: Elk River man in Mongolian prison
Facebook: Free Justin Kapla

Television shows like "Locked Up Abroad" reveal the sometimes deplorable conditions Americans can face in prisons overseas. Kapla is finding this out first-hand.

Forbes contributor Jon Springer has been following Kapla's case since the husband and father of two wasn't allowed to leave Mongolia after the coal mining company he worked for was accused of tax evasion back in 2012. After Kapla was found guilty last month, he wrote in a letter to his family that he is in a 12 by 12 foot cell, denied visitors, and sometimes showers even though they are supposed to get one every 12 days.

"Current conditions in the current jail have to be in bed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The rest of the day they have to be sitting or standing. They are in their cell all day every day except for two times a week, they are allowed out for fresh air for 20 minutes," Springer told Fox 9 via Skype.

Springer says temperatures in Mongolia can reach 40 below in the winter, and it isn't clear how many clothes Kapla and the two other prisoners in his case are given when they go outdoors.

Springer also said Kapla and his colleagues will probably be transferred to a maximum security prison where the conditions could be even worse while they appeal their case, which could take up to a year.

"A prison in Mongolia is going to be a cold dank place to be. Conditions are not very good and I don't even know how to say it's not a place you want to be -- a place that will take time off your life when you get out," Springer said.

Some experts believe Kapla and his colleagues could eventually have their sentences reduced to time served and be allowed to leave the country as long as they don't return, but that could pose problem for Kapla since Mongolia is where his wife and children are from.


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