Russian Arms Dealer Sent to Terrorist Prison Block

Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer who received a 25-year prison sentence in the United States for planning to kill U.S. nationals and sell arms to the Colombian militants, will serve his time in an Illinois prison block reserved for convicted terrorists, Russian Kommersant daily reported on Friday.

According to the daily, Bout’s lawyers will not appeal the decision since the U.S. court agreed to assign him to a medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois, instead of the notorious “supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado.

“We were pleased to know that Viktor Bout will be transferred to a medium-security prison. It is the best possible outcome since he is not a U.S. citizen,” Kommersant quoted Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan as saying.

The daily cautioned that the defense’s statements about softer prison conditions could be premature since Bout will serve his sentence in a so-called Communication Management Unit (CMU), a prison block for convicted terrorists.

CMU inmates face severe restrictions, including the right to just one 15-minute telephone call per week instead of the 300-minute monthly limit for ordinary prisoners.

The terrorist block prisoners are only allowed to meet with relatives in a room divided by a glass wall and must speak only in English. Their correspondence is monitored by prison authorities except for letters to lawyers, the paper said.

Inmates at Marion prison’s CMU include members of the Al Qaeda and the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terrorist group.

Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a New York Federal Court for planning to sell arms to the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC). He was arrested after U.S. agents posed as arms buyers in a “sting” operation. Bout has always denied the charges against him.

Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier the United States may consider Bout’s extradition to Russia if a request is received from the Russian authorities.

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