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Russian human rights commissioner hails Bout’s release as ‘New Year gift’

Tatyana Moskalkova said that Bout spent around 13 years in jail "as a result of an illegitimate and unfair verdict"

MSOCOW, December 9. /TASS/. Russia’s human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, described Thursday’s release of US-jailed Russian citizen Viktor Bout as a ‘New Year gift’ for everyone who followed the businessman’s trial and incarceration in the US.

"The swap of Viktor Bout for US basketball player Brittney Griner can truly be described as a New Year gift. I think, everyone who followed the ordeal of this wonderful person, who had fallen victim of US insinuations, is now filled with joy," Moskalkova said.

She said that Bout spent around 13 years in jail "as a result of an illegitimate and unfair verdict."

"We all remember numerous requests filed by various organizations. I, on my part, have written numerous requests to international organizations and US authorities, asking to release Viktor Anatolyevich, [or] review his case," Moskalkova said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on December 8 that Viktor Bout was returning to Russia as a result of an agreement with the US to exchange him for American basketball player Brittney Griner.

Viktor Bout was detained in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok in 2008 under a warrant issued by a local court at the behest of the US. He was charged with illegally supplying weapons to a rebel group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US. Bout was extradited to the United States two years later. In April 2012, he was sentenced to 25 years in jail and slapped with a $15-million fine.