Bout’s defense appeals his trial in the United States

Lawyers for alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, held in a U.S. prison on conspiracy charges, have lodged an appeal on the illegality of their client’s prosecution in the United States.

The appeal claims, in particular, that the U.S. government does not have jurisdiction to consider criminal cases over the offences that have been committed outside the U.S.

The prosecutors must reply to the 50-page document, submitted on Monday, within two weeks.

Former Soviet military officer Bout was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents. He was extradited to the United States in November, 2010, after spending more than two and half years in Thai prisons.

Bout, 44, is being held in a New York prison while he awaits trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in October on charges including conspiring to supply arms to terrorist groups and kill U.S. nationals. He denies all the charges against him.

The alleged arms dealer, dubbed “The Merchant of Death,” could face anything from 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

The U.S. authorities have allegedly asked another Russian citizen, cargo pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko who is held in the United States on drug trafficking charges, to testify against Bout in exchange for a milder sentence and even a possible U.S. citizenship.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency arrested Yaroshenko in Liberia last May. Four metric tons of cocaine were seized in the bust.

NEW YORK, April 19 (RIA Novosti)


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