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Russia submits amicus curiae brief to US Supreme Court

March 25, 2017, 3:34 UTC+3

In this way Russia is calling for overturning Viktor Bout’s sentence

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Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout

© Courtesy of Alla Bout family archive/TASS

NEW YORK, March 25. /TASS/. Russia has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the US Supreme Court in Viktor Bout’s case, calling for overturning his sentence, defense attorney Alexei Tarasov told TASS.

"An amicus curiae brief has been submitted in support of Viktor Bout, raising international law issues," he said. In his opinion, "this will enhance the prospects of success in our application." "This is the first time Russia has ever filed an amicus curiae brief to the US Supreme Court," Tarasov added. He elaborated that Russia had previously submitted an amicus curiae brief in the case of Konstantin Yaroshenko currently serving his sentence in the US, but it had been filed to an appeals court.

"The US Department of Justice did not have any objection against Russia filing this document," Tarasov went on to say while commenting on the Bout case. He also said that the amicus curiae brief submitted to the US Supreme Court had been particularly signed by Michael Sullivan, former attorney for the District of Massachusetts, who also served as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Bout case’s prospects

Meanwhile, it is yet unknown when the US Supreme Court will announce whether it will accept the Bout case or not. The Supreme Court justices are expected to review the case by March 31 but a decision will not necessarily be made on that day.

Viktor Bout’s legal team filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in late February. The document particularly says that the appeals court and the District Court for the Southern District of New York applied wrong legal criteria to assess the facts pointing to the prosecutor’s office keeping exculpatory evidence from the defense attorney. According to Tarasov, the evidence was enough for acquitting Bout.

The defense attorney added that the US Supreme Court accepted very few of the submitted cases.

Bout was detained in the Thailand’s capital of Bangkok in 2008 on a warrant issued by a local court at Washington’s request. He was charged with conspiracy to deliver weapons to a group calling itself the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, deemed terrorist by the US. In 2010, Bout was extradited to the United States. In April 2012, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and a fine of $15 million.

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