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New York court denies appeal postponement in Bout case

January 11, 2013, 1:32 UTC+3
The deadline for filing an appeal remains unchanged – January 30
1 pages in this article
Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

NEW YORK, January 11 (Itar-Tass) – New York’s court of appeals on Thursday, January 10, denied a new postponement in filing an appeal in the case of Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who has been sentenced in the United States for arms smuggling.

The deadline for filing an appeal remains unchanged – January 30.

In early January, Bout’s Albert Dayan submitted a request for a new three-month postponement in filing an appeal due to a large amount of documents in the case. The verbatim report of court hearings alone takes more than 1,700 pages. There are also many audio recordings added to the case.

Another difficulty in preparing an appeal, according to the lawyer, is that Bout is serving his term in the Marion prison in Illinois and practically cannot communicate with him.

Also, the Russian government pays much attention to the Bout case and Dayan has to travel to Russia to inform government officials and Bout’s family of the appeal proceedings.

The initial deadline for filing an appeal was November 12, 2012. However in August of last year the court agreed to postpone it for three months.

Bout, found guilty in November 2010 of arms smuggling conspiracy, has been sentenced by a New York court to 25 years in prison.

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.

“We will continue to closely watch the situation regarding Viktor Bout. As you know, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed deep disappointment at the recent decision of the U.S. Department of Justice to forbid Viktor Bout’s extradition to Russia as was requested in a petition handed over earlier to the American side on behalf of the Russian Ministry of Justice,” Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law said at a Duma roundtable discussion on the protection of the rights of Russian citizens and compatriots abroad late last year.

“Russia will continue to defend the interests of the Russian businessman and will press for its return home using all available legal and diplomatic tools. In parallel, we will continue to demand that the American side provide as humane conditions as possible for Viktor Bout in prison as required by international standards,” Dolgov said.

“As far as we know, Viktor Bout’s lawyers are preparing an appeal against the American court verdict. We support it and hope that this appeal will be considered by American court in an objective and impartial manner,” the diplomat said.

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.

Bout is convinced that his case “is anti-Russian”. “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.

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