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Court returns Bout’s USD 1 M slander suit against TV channel

April 10, 2013, 21:04 UTC+3
The court’s spokesperson said the statement of claim was returned because it contains some flaws
1 pages in this article
Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, April 10 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow’s Khamovniki District Court has returned a one million U.S. dollar slander suit against the REN TV channel filed by Russian citizen Viktor Bout who has been convicted in the United States.

“The statement of claim has been returned to the applicant,” the court’s spokesperson Darya Lyakh told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, April 10.

She said the statement of claim was returned because it contains some flaws. If these flaws are corrected, the applicant may submit it again.

Bout filed the suit following the film “The Russian Mafia Abroad” where he was portrayed as an “arms baron”. In his lawsuit he asked the court to make the television channel to refute this information as incorrect.

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.

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.

Bout’s lawyers insist that their defendant had no plans to sell arms to terrorists, let alone kill Americans. The only purpose of his trip to Bangkok in March 2008, reputedly for a meeting with representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (RAFC), whose role was played by undercover informants of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, was to make a deal to sell two transport planes which were in Bout’s possession at that time. He was arrested during the meeting.

Russia has repeatedly said that Bout’s transfer from Bangkok to the U.S. was unlawful and was carried out without court rulings. The Russian Foreign Ministry continues to insist on Bout’s extradition.

The Marion prison, where Bout is serving his term, is located in Illinois, 500 kilometres south of Chicago, and is designed to accommodate 1,000 inmates.

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