NEW YORK, October 31. /TASS/. A court of appeal in New York has heard arguments in favor of and against retrial of Russian citizen Viktor Bout, currently serving a prison term in the US. The court said it would make a decision later, a TASS correspondent reports from the courtroom.
Bout’s defense last February presented fresh arguments in favor of trial. In Monday’s hearings Bout’s lawyer, Aleksey Tarasov, presented the main arguments to a panel of three judges. The prosecution voiced its counter-arguments, too. The judges said the decision would be read out later, but no official date was set.
A court of appeal in New York may decide within several weeks to come if Russian citizen Viktor Bout, serving a prison term in the United States, deserves retrial, his lawyer, Aleksey Tarasov, told TASS.
"A decision may follow within several weeks or several months," he said. "One cannot be certain." He recalled that earlier a decision in the case of another Russian, jailed in the US, Konstantin Yaroshenko, was made within about one week. He was denied revision of his case.
Tarasov voiced the certainty that the chances of achieving Bout’s retrial do exist.
"There are certain controversies. Otherwise, verbal debate would not have been ordered," he said. Tarasov added that he noticed nothing that might hint the court was biased during the hearings.
Bout was detained in the Thai capital in 2008 on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by a local court at the United States’ request. He was charged with conspiracy to deliver weapons to a group calling itself the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, regarded as a terrorist organization in the United States. 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.
Bout is serving the term in Marion prison, Chicago, Illinois, 500 kilometers south of Chicago.