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WASHINGTON, July 14 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian businessman Viktor Bout sentenced by a New York court to 25 years in prison on arms smuggling conspiracy charges is serving his term in a small stuffy solitary cell at the Marion penitentiary in Illinois, an officer from the Russian embassy in Washington told Itar-Tass after seeing Bout at the prison.
Despite the austere condition he is kept in, Bout is not crushed and is determined to prove his guiltlessness, the Russian diplomat said after a two-hour conversation with Bout at the Marion prison.
According to the diplomat, the Russian embassy will continue its efforts to help the Russian citizen.
Bout was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 at a U.S. request and extradited to the U.S. in November 2010. He was 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. 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.