The Voice of Russia on February 9, 2012 released the following:
“Russia will pull all levers to bring home convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is currently being held in a US prison. This came in a statement by Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich.
Following Viktor Bout’s conviction on November 2, his attorney Albert Dayan filed several motions to appeal the jury’s verdict. Viktor Bout appeared in court Wednesday afternoon to find out that all motions to dismiss the verdict have been rejected.
Albert Dayan, Bout’s attorney, continues to claim Bout is innocent.
“I still believe that Viktor Bout is innocent and that the law under which he was prosecuted is inapplicable to here.” – Albert Dayan
Bout, a Russian citizen, was arrested in Thailand in 2008, and then extradited to the United States two years later. Bout was convicted in a US court on four counts of conspiracy charges, ranging from killing US citizens to exporting surface to air missiles. What led to his arrest were several meetings with undercover DEA informants posing as members of the Columbian FARC. Their intention was to persuade Boot to sell them arms. However in court, Bout claimed he had no intention of doing so, and that he didn’t even have the capabilities to attain any weapons at the time. Throughout the trial, Dayan questioned the motives of the DEA agents, claiming they fed off misinformation and propaganda prior to pursuing their goal of capturing Bout and bringing him to the United States.
“The ultimate question is: why is he here? We believe that he was targeted based upon his reputation. And that reputation was not accurate as well. That reputation was created by media, by politics. And he’s prosecuted not because he did anything on this case, this case was created by the agents. It wasn’t alleged that he did anything wrong. The agents in this case created a case, they created a scenario that would pull him in”
During the trial, it was revealed that the undercover informants approached Bout several times to discuss a possible deal. The deal included arms and airplanes. Bout claims that his intention was to persuade the fake FARC to buy his remaining two planes that he had leftover from his previous business, but as it was revealed in the hours of recorded conversations, arms were part of the deal as well, at the request of the DEA informants. Bout claims he was going to simply sell two planes, and nothing else. The jury thought otherwise.
Following the courts rejection of Bout’s appeal, Judge Scheindlin took time to discuss another matter, the conditions under which Bout is held in jail.
Since his arrival to the US back in November 2010, Bout has been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. Unlike the majority of prisoners there, Bout has been held in solitary confinement the entire time.
“He’s confined in a very small cell that has a bullet proof window. He has no indication of natural sunlight. His daily routing is taking several steps forward and several steps back. He has no contact with any human beings at all except for sporadic attorney visits.” – Albert Dayan
On February 3rd, Dayan submitted a letter to the judge requesting that Bout be transferred out of solitary confinement and placed into general population where he can be around other prisoners and enjoy the privileges of going outside. In the letter, Dayan outlined the conditions under which Bout was being held, and during Wednesday’s hearing Judge Scheindlin responded, “it seems harsh, its seems brutal, it seems unnecessary. It seems like something should be done.”
Despite Bout’s inhuman imprisonment, Dayan said Bout is surprisingly doing well.
“He’s keeping strong willed. He reads a lot, he thinks a lot, he writes a lot, so he keeps himself strong but how long could that last? That is the question.” –Albert Dayan
Bout faces 25 years to life in prison, and his sentencing date has been scheduled for March 12. Dayan Hopes to have Bout transferred prior to the sentencing.
The trial of the United States Government v. Viktor Bout has been watched closely by Russia. Russia still feels that Bout was extradited illegally and was tried not in accordance with international law. Alexander Otchaynov, the Vice Consul of Russian Consulate General in New York, said Russia’s opinion has not changed.
“Our position remains the same, our Russian citizen is innocent. I agree with the attorney and the judge that the process in which he is being held is inhumane, especially when it is a citizen of Russia that has not been convicted of any crime by an international court.” – Alexander Otchaynov
Bout’s attorney said he will try to persuade an international court to look into the case. In the meantime, Viktor Bout will most likely be transferred to a maximum-security prison in Colorado following his sentencing, where he will serve at least 25 years.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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