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Russian businessman Bout doubts his lawyers can get his term reduced

April 07, 2012, 22:32 UTC+3
Russian businessman Viktor Bout, found guilty in November 2010 of arms smuggling conspiracy and sentenced by a New York court to 25 years in prison
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, April 7 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian businessman Viktor Bout, found guilty in November 2010 of arms smuggling conspiracy and sentenced by a New York court to 25 years in prison, said he has practically no hope that his lawyers will succeed in getting his term reduced.

“I do not hope for any appeal at all. No matter what you say, it’s a shame for this judicial system,” Bout said in a telephone conversation with NTV television on Saturday, April 7, adding that his trial “showed everybody who is the boss”.

Nevertheless, Bout claims he is not guilty and does not understand what he was sentenced for.

“I do not consider myself guilty. I do not understand what I have been punished for. I do not understand what I did to be sentenced even to one year,” he said.

He described the whole trial as “inquisition: you must confess to have sinned with the devil”.

“There was no investigation, there was no normal discussion. I am sorry to say, but those 12 brainwashed jury members who don’t care whether anything happened or not. They hear only one key phrase ‘Kill the Americans’ and nothing else. You lose the trial automatically,” Bout said, adding however that he expected a life sentence.

“I try not to talk to anyone and live my own life. I feel the love of my family and relatives and it helps me. My belief that I will return home helps me. They can put me away. They can shoot me, kill me, but they won’t break me. I know that I will return home,” Bout 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 were 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 pleaded not guilty on all the points.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it would press for Bout’s return to Russia.

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