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NEW YORK, April 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The wife of convicted Russian businessman Viktor Bout described the 25-year sentence to her husband, which is the mandatory minimum for the charges, as a victory which gives hope he may be extradited to Russia soon.
“It is a victory. As the judge passed a minimum sentence it means the arguments of the prosecution were inconsistent. The judge said she did not see clear evidence. I believe we have won today,” Alla Bout told reporters after the trial on Thursday.
Viktor “Bout hopes Russia will resolutely defend the rights of its citizens abroad,” she added.
The prosecution demanded life imprisonment to Bout who was convicted for agreeing to sell arms to people he thought were Colombian militants planning to kill American soldiers. Besides 25 years in prison Bout was also fined for 15 million dollars.
Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan said he would appeal against the sentence up to the Supreme Court.
In his last statement Bout pleaded innocent. “Your Honor, I am innocent. I did not want to kill anyone and did not plan to sell weapons to anyone. God knows the truth, not these people,” Bout said pointing at U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, who organized his arrest in Bangkok in 2008.