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NEW YORK, August 10. /TASS/. Disciplinary proceedings against Viktor Bout, a Russian businessman serving out his sentence in the US, have been delayed again, his attorney Alexei Tarasov told TASS on Thursday.
The disciplinary procedure was initiated against Bout in June for his interview to a reporter from the RT TV channel. During the interview that took place on May 5, a reporter, who was authorized to speak with Bout, handed the phone over to a colleague. That person was not on the list of individuals to whom the jailed Russian was allowed to communicate. As a result, Bout’s prison sentence may be extended as punishment, or he may be sent to solitary confinement.
The disciplinary proceedings were scheduled for Thursday.
Tarasov said he had contacted the prison administration, who told him that "the [disciplinary] hearing has been cancelled and will not take place today."
"We don’t know whether it was rescheduled for another date, but it did not take place today," he added.
The lawyer said he had no possible explanations for this postponement, the second since June.
"It’s hard to say. This is the second postponement of the hearings. Several weeks ago, Russian diplomats notified the [Marion] prison [administration] and the Federal Bureau of Prisons that this probe contradicts the rules for inmates’ contacts with media representatives," he said, adding that he "cannot draw a direct link" between the Russian diplomats’ efforts and the postponement due to lack of official information and comments.
Tarasov said he saw Bout on August 7.
"He feels well. So far, he has seen no discriminatory actions on behalf of the prison administration," he said.
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.