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US Department of Justice refuses to extradite Viktor Bout to Russia

November 10, 2012, 3:45 UTC+3

At the moment he is kept at the Marion prison, 500 kilometers away from Chicago

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NEW YORK, November 10 (Itar-Tass) —— The US Department of Justice has rejected Russia’s request for the extradition of Viktor Bout for serving the prison term at home, Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“We have received an official reply from the Department of Justice. The document dated November 2, 2012 says that after the close examination of the request the United States decided against Bout’s transfer to Russia,” Dayan said.

“The request was turned down because the prisoner is waiting for the consideration of his appeal, because of the seriousness of the crime he committed, because of objections from the law enforcement agencies, and also because such a possibility is ruled out due to his criminal past,” the lawyer said with reference to the Justice Department’s reply.

The document also says the decision cannot be appealed against. Another request for Bout’s transfer to Russia may be filed in two years from now. In the meantime, that can be done earlier, if the prisoner decides that the circumstances related to the rejection of his appeal have changed considerably and he can prove that.

“Now the sole hope is for the appeal,” Dayan said, adding that in his opinion the continuing appellate process is not a reason for Bout’s extradition to Russia. “There are other factors, too. Viktor is here for political reasons. He committed no wrongdoing.”

Earlier Bout agreed to sending an appeal to the US Department of Justice for his extradition to Russia. At the same time the appeal for the repatriation of convicts on the basis of a convention to which Russia and the United States are parties is to be filed after the final sentence has taken effect. In the meantime, Bout pleads innocence and his appeal is about to be considered, so the judicial procedure is not over.

Last April Viktor Bout, 45, was found guilty by a US court of a plot to sell weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – an organization listed terrorist in the United States – and sentenced to 25 years in prison. At the moment he is kept at the Marion prison, 500 kilometers away from Chicago.

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