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Russian businessman sentenced in US on conditions in jail

September 27, 2012, 20:34 UTC+3
Viktor Bout, a former Russian military interpreter, was sentenced to 25 years
1 pages in this article

WASHINGTON, September 27 (Itar-Tass) — Inmates serving terms in the same specialized block of a U.S. jail together with the Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who was sentenced in the U.S. for alleged plans to sell weaponry to rebels in Colombia, are polite, calm and friendly people, mostly Moslems, Bout said in a note sent to Itar-Tass by an e-mail channel used for communications with U.S. penitentiaries.

The note does not contain any heartbreaking revelations, to say nothing of sensational reports but the very fact that it got outside the territory of the jail signals a definite victory over those who try to keep the businessman fully isolated from the outside world in what concerns information.

A proposal to use the specialized communications channel came from the jail authorities back in July when an Itar-Tass correspondent filed a request for personal access to the Marion jail in Illinois. However, all the attempts to establish a personal contact with bout have failed so far.

His wife and lawyers said he did get the messages at Marion but the replies he emailed did not get out of the jail’s walls “due to technicalities”. That is why this message was the first meaningful one, albeit short enough and written in English.

Bout says his relations with the people around him are good enough – in the measure they can be good in the specific conditions of an isolation ward. He indicates that the inmates do not and cannot have any personal contacts with the jail’s directorate, since they are not envisioned by the jail’s procedural regulations.

Fortunately, the fellow-inmates are peaceful and disciplined people, and most of them are Moslems who display a polite, calm and friendly attitude, Bout says adding that he personally has not seen any conflicts between the inmates so far.

He describes the other inmates as the people who do not look a bit like outright jailbirds and all of them, as far as he can see or judge, have profound convictions of their own.

Bout says he prefers spending most of his time in solitude, either reading or studying something or listening to music. Or else, he may draw something with a crayon or paints occasionally.

In addition, he tries to maintain physical fitness. The so-called Communication Management Units /CMU/, one of which has become a forcible habitat for the Russian businessman who focused his operations on air haulage in African countries, were set up in at least two jails in the U.S. as part of the campaign to fight with international terrorism.

The objective of the CMU project is to restrict the inmates’ contacts with the outside world to the maximum.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bout has been placed to the CMU at Marion after the court had found him guilty of an ostensible conspiracy for the purpose of killing U.S. citizens and other alleged offenses falling into the same category.

Along with this the DOJ said in its document Bout’s status as the inmate of the CMU will be reviewed regularly in the conditions where he will have an opportunity to be heeded,

Viktor Bout, a former Russian military interpreter, was sentenced to 25 years in jail in April 2012 on charges of an attempted contraband of arms to an extremist grouping in Colombia.

He was arrested in Thailand at a U.S. request in 2008. American security service agents played an active role in his arrest.

Moscow has said more than once at a high official level it will take all the possible steps to achieve Bout’s repatriation. For this purpose, the Russian authorities have vowed to use all the existing international legal mechanism.

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