MOSCOW, July 7 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Justice Ministry will send an official document to the United States shortly, requesting that businessman Viktor Bout be transferred to Russia for further service of his sentence.
The ministry confirmed that it has received a similar request from Bout’s wife, Alla.
“The appeal is being studied. Based on the results of the review, the Russian Ministry of Justice will prepare an inquiry to the U.S. Department of Justice, requesting a set of documents required by Article 6 of the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons of March 21, 1983, which will be send to the competent U.S. body within the shortest time possible,” the ministry said on Saturday, July 7.
“The Convention does not regulate the time period for reviewing a request for the transfer, but Clause 4 of Article 5 of the Convention requires the requested state to promptly inform the requesting state of its decision whether or not to agree to the requested transfer,” the ministry said.
“The documents to be provided by the U.S. will be sent to the competent Russian court for making the decision on the recognition and enforcement of the U.S. court’s verdict with regard to Viktor Bout in the Russian Federation,” the ministry said.
The U.S. is ready to consider Russia’s request for allowing Bout to service his prison term at home.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told Itar-Tass earlier that the U.S. has agreements with other countries that allow convicts to service their prison terms at home.
Russia and the United States have agreed that the Bout case should be solved in accordance with law.
Bout, found guilty in November 2010 of arms smuggling conspiracy, has been sentenced by a New York court to 25 years in prison.
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.
Bout is convinced that his case “is anti-Russian”. “Look at what happened in Thailand during the extradition procedure. The criminal court of Bangkok denied the extradition. They applied tremendous pressure on the government of Thailand and actually bought me out, not extradited. We submitted an appeal to the Thai court and it is still not finished. The pressure was so huge they had to pass me to the American side. My case is still on the shelves in Thailand,” he said.
“My case is purely political. Despite the American procedures the Russian public knows the truth. My case shows the real condition of the American justice system of a police state close to dictatorship,” Bout said.