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New York jury say Russian businessman Bout guilty

November 02, 2011, 22:24 UTC+3
According to the charges brought against Bout, 44, he may face from 25 years in prison to life imprisonment
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NEW YORK, November 2 (Itar-Tass) —— The jury at a New York court proclaimed Russian businessman Viktor Bout guilty on all four counts on Wednesday, November 2.

The verdict in his case will be handed down on November 8 and can be appealed by December 2.

According to the charges brought against Bout, 44, he may face from 25 years in prison to life imprisonment.

Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan quoted his defendant as saying that the struggle in the American court “is not over yet and there are chances to be freed”.

Dayan said the defence would appeal within 30 days.

“We are strongly disappointed by the jury’s decision. But this is not the end. This is the beginning of our new struggle,” he said.

Bout was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 at a U.S. request and extradited to the U.S. in November 2010. He has been charged with masterminding the sale of a large shipment of arms.

Four charges have been brought against him: criminal conspiracy to kill US nationals, conspiracy to kill officials in public service, criminal conspiracy to purchase and sell antiaircraft missiles and criminal conspiracy to supply weapons to terrorist groups. The Russian citizen has pleaded not guilty on all the points.

The Russian Foreign Ministry took steps to prevent his extradition to the U.S.; Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested that Bout was innocent. On November 18, 2010, shortly after Bout's extradition to the U.S., Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's aide Sergei Prikhodko claimed that Russia had “nothing to hide” in Bout's criminal case stating, “It is in our interests that the investigation... be brought to completion, and [Bout] answer all the questions the American justice system has.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier that a situation where Russian citizens fall victim to U.S. justice on the basis of broad interpretation of law is unacceptable.

“We keep on stressing the unacceptability of the situation where a number of Russian citizens fall victim to the application of American legislation and American legislative norms on an exterritorial basis, on the basis of broad interpretation of American laws and the possibility of its extrapolation, including outside the United States,” the diplomat said.

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