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New York court to announce verdict to Russian businessman Bout April 5

March 21, 2012, 21:30 UTC+3
On November 2, 2011, the jury at a New York court proclaimed Bout guilty on all four counts
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

NEW YORK, March 21 (Itar-Tass) —— A New York court will announce its verdict in the case of Russian businessman Viktor Bout, found guilty in November 2010 of arms smuggling conspiracy, on April 5.

The verdict was supposed to be handed down on March 28 but was delayed at the request of Bout’s defence.

In late February, Scheindlin ordered that Bout be transferred from solitary confinement in a special prison in Manhattan to a general prison in Brooklyn.

Bout, 45, who has been found guilty of arms contraband, may get from 25 years in prison.

On November 2, 2011, the jury at a New York court proclaimed Bout guilty on all four counts.

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”.

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

Dayan sent an appeal to Scheindlin on November 11, asking her to annul the verdict delivered by the jury that found his defendant guilty on all four counts and said the jury might have been prejudiced.

He asked the judge to appoint a new hearing where the jury will be asked whether or not they were influenced by any information other than that presented in court.

Bout’s wife, Alla, said earlier she doubted that the trial of her would be impartial and correct.

“Viktor's case has become a political one. I doubt that it will be a correct and impartial trial and won't be lobbied by the U.S. government,” she said.

She noted how much money had been spent to hype the case.

“My husband continues to be demonised in the U.S.,” she said.

Moscow believes that the evidence collected against Bout "is too thin to make far-reaching accusations". The Foreign Ministry thinks that a situation where Russian citizens fall victim to U.S. justice on the basis of broad interpretation of law is unacceptable.

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.

 

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