6 April 2012
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday it will take efforts to repatriate convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout after a U.S. court sentenced him to 25 years in prison.
"The Russian Foreign Ministry will take whatever action necessary to repatriate Viktor Bout back to his Motherland by any means within international-legal law. This issue will, without doubt, be one of the top priorities, in the Russian-American relations," the Ministry said.
"In spite of the unreliability of the evidence, the illegal character of his arrest involving the participation of US special services agents in Thailand and the subsequent extradition, American legal officials, having carried out a political order, ignored the arguments of lawyers and numerous appeals from all levels in defense of this Russian citizen," the Russian ministry said.
«Long before the sentence was given to Bout, the authorities declared him the 'Merchant of Death' and almost an international terrorist, but this accusation was based exclusively on his imputed 'criminal intent.'
"From there, an attempt was made to force him to admit his guilt by creating unbearable conditions for detention, by both physical and psychological means. The absolutely unacceptable campaign by the American media was aimed at influencing the jury and the judicial process in the 'right direction.'
The 25-year prison sentence for Bout is absolutely inadmissible and biased, The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Human Rights Spokesman, Konstantin Dolgov said on Friday.
“We consider the U.S. Court's 25-year prison sentence to Viktor Bout absolutely inadmissible, unbiased and nonobjective,” Dolgov said in a statement.
“We have closely monitored the investigation process and can say for sure that the physical and psychological pressure was used against Bout with the intentional piling on the pressure,” the diplomat said, adding that Bout “was actually kidnapped on his country’s territory and extradited to the United States.”
“It definitely raises doubts about the grounds that the prosecution is build on and the verdict’s justice.”
Douglas McNabb, a Transnational criminal defense lawyer told RIA Novosti that Russia may push for the cancellation of Bout’s extradition to the United States.
“If the trial continues, and if the court holds that the extradition was illegal, the Thai government will be entitled in accordance with the U.S.-Thai extradition treaty to legitimately demand Bout’s return,” McNabb said.