MOSCOW, February 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has not received from the United States sufficient evidence of the guilt of its national Viktor Bout and will work to have him repatriated, foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
“The decision of the federal court in New York to reject an appeal from Viktor Bout’s lawyers who asked to annul the guilty verdict of the jury causes major questions regarding independence and objectivity of the US judiciary,” he said.
“Despite clear inconsistency of the evidence provided by prosecution and unlawful methods of physical and psychological pressure used by investigators the judge actually blindly obeyed the US special services who had declared Bout an enemy of America and an accomplice of terrorists,” he said.
“Our position remains unchanged. The US authorities did not provide sufficient evidence of the guilt of the Russian citizen and built the case on convincing the jury of ‘criminal conspiracy’ attributed to Bout. The objectivity of the verdict could not but be affected by the targeted negative media and cinema campaign which imposed on the public conscience an image of the ‘merchant of death’.”
“The Russian foreign ministry will work to have Viktor Bout returned home and will use all available lawful and political mechanisms for that. We shall continue to strictly demand normal jail conditions for the Russian citizen. We stress that the US side bears full responsibility for the life and health of our compatriot,” Lukashevich said.
Bout, 45, is to be sentenced on March 12. He was found guilty of conspiracy to kill US nationals, conspiracy to purchase and sell antiaircraft missiles and supply weapons to terrorist groups. Bout may face from 25 years to life imprisonment.