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Russian businessman Viktor Bout's term in US prison extended for 40 days

November 03, 2015, 8:50 UTC+3 NEW YORK
According to the lawyer, he was put into punitive confinement for 90 days for allegedly making alcohol drinks in his cell, however he was only growing the so-called tea mushroom or kombucha
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Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout

© AP Photo/Drug Enforcement Administration

NEW YORK, November 3. /TASS/. Russian businessman Viktor Bout who is serving a 26 year-long jail term in the US on charges of illegal arms sales, has been put into punitive confinement for 90 days, allegedly for making alcohol drinks in the Marion penitentiary in Illinois, Bout's lawyer Alexey Tarassov said on Monday in a conversation with a group of Russian reporters.

In addition, his jail term has been extended for 40 days.

As a measure of maintaining health, Bout grew a tea mushroom in his separate cell. This combination of yeast and acetic bacteria turns into a sour-sweet slightly gaseous drink known as 'tea kvass' in Russia and kombucha in the US

Bout said not only his fellow-inmates in the block but also wardens had tasted and spoken highly of this functional beverage in the past few months.

"But one day a disciplinary officer came carrying a gadget of some kind and pointed it at the kombucha and then declared that the mushroom contained some percentage of alcohol," Tarassov said. "A disciplinary inquiry was opened and Bout was found guilty of making alcoholic drinks on the compound of the penitentiary and denied the right to contact the outside world for 90 days.

He said Bout did not have the right to contact lawyers during the inquiry, adding that the whole story looked outrageous.

Tarassov said however this was not a kind of punishment designed specially for Bout but, rather, a standard procedure.

At the reporters' request, he provided some details on the conditions in which Bout was kept. The specialized block of the Marion jail, which Bout calls a mini-Guantanamo, is run by the counter-terrorism department of the US Bureau of Prisons and had the abbreviation CMU (Communications Management Unit), which envisions total control over inmates with the aid of telephone, email and during relatives' visits.

In the wake of punitive confinement, Bout has been denied the right to communicate with the relatives and to use the prison store, Tarassov said.

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