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Russia’s Prosecutor-General says Bout should not be kept in tight security jail

May 30, 2012, 19:21 UTC+3

Chaika said Holder reacted to his questions with understanding

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MOSCOW, May 30 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika insists that Viktor Bout does not deserve imprisonment in a tight security jail. Chaika told the Federation Council he had raised that theme at his recent meeting in Moscow with his US counterpart Eric Holder.

“I said I am not interfering in the court ruling, because it would be very wrong if I did. The sole thing I am asking for is Bout should be kept in conditions proportionate to the crime he was convicted of, that is, to serve the prison term in an ordinary security prison, and not as a very dangerous habitual criminal or terrorist,” Chaika said.

Also, he said he had raised the question about the future of Russian air pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, convicted in the United States.

Chaika said Holder reacted to his questions with understanding.

Last April a US court found Viktor Bout, 45, guilty of an arms smuggling conspiracy with a Colombian rebel group and sentenced to 25 years in jail.

Air pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, 42, was given 20 years in jail last September on charges of an involvement in a criminal conspiracy to transport a large batch of cocaine, part of which was meant for the US black market. He had been detained by agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration in the territory of Liberia and then brought to the United States.

The Russian authorities have been doing their utmost to secure the repatriation of Bout and Yaroshenko. However, as Russia’s Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said earlier, regrettably the United States and Russia still have no bilateral agreements on extradition or on the exchange of convicts. He recalled he had shared an idea of concluding such an agreement with the US Attorney-General more than two years ago.

“One has to admit that the Americans’ response to our proposals has been slack. But we hope that we shall be able to persuade them. At least we shall be doing our utmost to this end,” Konovalov said.



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