U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has pledged to study the possibilities of transferring convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout and ex-pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko to Russia, a senior official in the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said on Tuesday.
During a visit to Moscow, Holder discussed the cases of Bout and Yaroshenko with his Russian colleagues, said Saak Karapetyan, the head of the Prosecutor General’s Office’s international and legal cooperation department.
Holder said he is ready to look into the possibilities to soften the prison regime for both Russians.
“There is legal framework [for such promises] – a prisoners’ swap agreement between Russia and the United States. The U.S. attorney general assured us that he will urgently give the necessary instructions,” Karapetyan told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily.
Russia’s Justice Ministry recently applied for the transfer of Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year prison term in the United States for drug trafficking.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry recently said Moscow will do everything possible to get Bout serving his sentence at home.
Bout, a former Soviet military officer, was found guilty of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, including military officers and employees, conspiring to use anti-aircraft missiles and selling millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. He is now serving his 25-year prison term in the Unites States.
Both Bout and Yaroshenko have denied their guilt.