Convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout may be sent to Russia under the European Council-backed Russian-U.S Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, though it will require many talks from both sides on the ministerial level, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
“The Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, approved on March 21, 1983, may become a legal mechanism used in this regard,” the ministry said in a statement.
The diplomatic body also said that Bout may be sent to Russia if he consents on his transfer from the United States and if the Justice Ministries of both countries agree on the decision.
Moscow has already voiced its desire to discuss with Washington the possibility of having Bout serve out his 25-year sentence in Russia rather than in the United States.
Bout, a former Soviet Air Force officer who was dubbed the “Merchant of Death” in the United States, has been sentenced to 25 years in a U.S. jail for conspiring to kill U.S. citizens and sell arms to Colombian militants. He maintains his innocence.
On May 11, the U.S. penitentiary authority said Bout would be sent from his Brooklyn jail to a super maximum security prison in Colorado, where convicted terrorists and other dangerous criminals are serving their sentences, often in solitary confinement.
Bout’s lawyer, Albert Dayan, has already appealed to the court, asking to revoke its decision.