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Bout case creates negative background for RF-US relations-Pushkov

April 06, 2012, 12:28 UTC+3

Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin who presided at the trial imposed on the Russian citizen punishment of 25 years' imprisonment

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MOSCOW, April 6 (Itar-Tass) — The sentence passed on Viktor Bout will be undoubtedly negatively received in Russia at the level of official structures and at the level of public opinion, head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs at the State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament Alexei Pushkov said on Friday.

In his view, Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison “for an intent imputed to him.” Pushkov draws a parallel between a very soft verdict of the American justice in the case of the Cravers couple accused of murdering Vanya Skorobogatov, a boy they adopted in Russia, and the judgment on Bout “who committed nothing.” “The contrast between the actions of the US court in these two cases is striking. The Russian public has a feeling that any case involving Russian citizens or immigrants from Russia, is decided in the United States not in favour of the Russian Federation, without due regard to its position or even contrary to it,” the Duma committee head said, recalling that the Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly criticised the trial of Bout, calling the allegations against him unsubstantiated.

Pushkov warned that Bout’s case creates an unfavourable background for a new stage in Russian-American relations. “The key to improving relations is in the hands of the American side. Once Putin decided to pardon US spy Edmond Pope, in a bid to improve relations. Now we will have an opportunity to assess how the Obama administration will deal with this situation,” the parliamentarian said.

He also believes that the administration of incumbent President and candidate for the next office term Obama can make a decision to extradite Bout to Russia. “I can assume that based on the US administration’s position, Russia will judge on the degree of its readiness to overcome the piled up conflict situations,” the head of the Duma Committee said.

The Federal Court for the Southern District of New York has passed a sentence on Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who in November 2011 was found guilty of conspiring to sell weapons to a group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is considered a terrorist organisation in the United States. Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin who presided at the trial imposed on the Russian citizen punishment of 25 years' imprisonment.


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