Viktor Bout: Viktor Bout’s Sentence
April 7, 2012 by staff
Viktor Bout: Viktor Bout’s Sentence, Moscow on Friday condemned the U.S. sentencing of Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout as baseless and politically-motivated, pledging to do all it can to ensure his return home.
Bout was handed a 25-year prison sentence on Thursday after being found guilty of conspiring to sell arms to anti-U.S. guerrillas in Colombia and to kill American service personnel.
The United States arrested him in Thailand after a tape-recorded sting operation and extradited him for trial in 2010.
But Russia has consistently denounced the case against the 45-year-old and said after the verdict it would make every “possible effort to return Viktor Bout to the Motherland,” reiterating a call made after his November conviction.
“The Russian foreign ministry views the U.S. court verdict sentencing Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison as baseless and biased,” said a ministry statement.
Bout inspired the arms smuggler played by Nicolas Cage in the 2005 “Lord of War” movie, although in that film the hero ultimately went free after being detained by U.S. authorities.
The ministry condemned the jury trial, saying it relied on “shaky evidence”, and accused the U.S. justice system of carrying out a “clear political order.”
It also said that Bout’s case would “remain among our priorities on the Russian-U.S. agenda.”
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov vowed he would “undoubtedly” discuss the case with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Interfax reported.
Russia and U.S. relations are going through a rocky period at the moment.
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