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NEW YORK, August 15 (Itar-Tass) —— A New York court on Wednesday, August 15, ruled that an appeal against the verdict to Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who is serving a long prison term for arms smuggling conspiracy, should be filed not later than January 30, 2013.
The court thus upheld Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan’s petition for extending the deadline for filing an appeal by three months.
The lawyer said there were too many documents in the case files to study to meet the existing deadline. The transcript of the court hearings alone is more than 1,700 pages, plus a large number of audio recordings.
Dayan plans to raise eight or ten important issues in his appeal and says that Bout should work on them with him. However this can hardly be done because Bout is locked away in a remote place far away from New York.
Bout, found guilty in November 2010 of arms smuggling conspiracy, was 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.