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Russia seeks to ensure return of jailed businessman Viktor Bout

According to the diplomat, the case of the Russian businessman jailed in the US was politicized right from the very beginning

MOSCOW, October 31. /TASS/. Russia welcomes easing of incarceration conditions for Russian businessman Viktor Bout, but the situation must be solved radically, he must be returned home, Russian Foreign Ministry ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov said on Monday.

"Unfortunately, we have seen a large-scale violation of human rights in the situation with Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko (Russian pilot sentenced to 20 years in prison in the US)," Dolgov reiterated.

According to the diplomat, the case of the Russian businessman was politicized right from the start. "From the point of view of our citizen’s life, it is of course a positive step - he can now spend more time in the open air, communicate with relatives," Dolgov said.

"But the situation necessitates a more radical settlement from the point of view of his return to the homeland," he said.

Last Wednesday, Bout’s wife Alla told TASS that her husband had been transferred from a specialized unit for particularly dangerous criminals to a general ward in the same jail.

Thai authorities detained Bout in Bangkok in 2008 on the grounds of a warrant a local court had issued pending a US query. Charges with illegal supplies of weaponry to the Farc rebel grouping in Colombia, which the U.S. lists among terrorist organizations, were brought on against him.

The Thais extradited Bout to the US in 2010 and a court in New York City sentenced him to 25 years in jail and a monetary fine in the amount of $ 15 million in April 2012.

When brought to the Marion jail, Bout was placed to the ‘communications management unit’. The latter have been set up in a number of US jails as part of struggle with international terrorism.

Human rights groups question the legality of these units and file lawsuits with American courts. They say Moslems make up about 70% of the inmates kept there.

Compared with other inmates, those confined to the ‘communication management units’ face harsh restrictions in the form of heavily slashed opportunities for communicating with others. They can make telephone calls only once in a while and only in English and are denied walks in the open air or physical activities.