NEW YORK, November 15 (RIA Novosti) – Convicted Russian international arms dealer Viktor Bout said he had expected the US Department of Justice’s decision last week to turn down Moscow’s request to repatriate him to Russia.
“I am not surprised by this decision. They forbade me to return home but they cannot stop me from struggling for my release and believing in justice. The entire ‘Bout case’ is evidently a lie,” Bout’s lawyer quoted him as saying.
The US Department of Justice refused last week to transfer Bout to Russia to serve his 25-year prison term at home, citing the “the seriousness of the crime” with which he was charged.
A former Soviet military officer, Bout was convicted in November 2011 of conspiracy to kill US nationals, including military officers and employees, by conspiring to supply man portable anti-aircraft missiles, and selling millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC.
He was sentenced in April 2012. Bout has continually denied the charges against him.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was “deeply disappointed” by the decision to refuse Bout’s extradition and said it will continue doing anything it legally can to get Bout sent home.
Bout’s defense team has started work on an appeal. Moscow hopes that the US court will grant an “unbiased” decision in the Bout case.
“I don’t believe in this “quiet diplomacy” between Washington and Moscow, which will assist my release, I only rely on active and efficient support of my fellow countrymen, representatives of state bodies and simple Russians who will understand that I was caught and sent behind bars only for political reasons,” Bout told his lawyer.