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Viktor Bout thanks US for respectful, benevolent treatment during swap

The spouse of the Russian citizen also said that one of the prison employees bought him clothes with her own money

MOSCOW, December 9. /TASS/. Russian Viktor Bout is grateful to the Americans for their respectful and generous treatment during the swap, Alla Bout, his wife, told TASS on Friday.

"He said he was grateful to the American side for being fed. I, he says, have not eaten so much in practically the last 12 years. He was treated very nobly, with respect: he was not shackled, not handcuffed, he was treated very generously, they talked to him. Everything was discussed," she explained.

The spouse of the Russian citizen also said that one of the prison employees bought him clothes with her own money. In addition, during the swap, the US side apologized to him for not having had the time to prepare his drawings and documents for the transfer. Bout’s family expects the US to hand over the documents and drawings to the Russian embassy in the near future.

"I hope that all of his documents and drawings will be handed over to the Russian embassy in the near future. We already spoke to the Russian envoy tonight. We hope that the American side will give him those documents and drawings that he was not able to take from prison, they were not prepared in time," his wife specified.

She also added that Bout felt terrible after the trip and was very exhausted, since he hadn’t slept in three days. "Viktor Anatolyevich is feeling awful and is severely exhausted. He has not slept in three days. This is because of the trip and the emotional aspects of it all," she detailed.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported on December 8 that Viktor Bout, a Russian citizen, who was serving out a prison sentence in the United States on arms trafficking charges, was returning to Russia as a result of a deal with the US to swap him for American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was apprehended in Russia for drug smuggling in February 2022.

Upon Griner’s arrival at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport from New York, two cartridges with cannabis oil were found in her luggage during baggage inspection. According to an expert review, the substance was cannabis oil, which qualifies as a narcotic substance. The court sentenced her to nine years in a penal colony.

As a member of the United States national women’s team, Griner won gold medals at the 2014 and 2018 World Championships, as well as at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. Before her arrest, she played for Russia’s Yekaterinburg professional basketball club.

Viktor Bout was arrested in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok in 2008 following a sting by US federal agents. He was charged with conspiracy to deliver weapons to a group regarded as a terrorist organization by the United States. In 2010, Bout was extradited to the United States. In April 2012, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and fined $15 million.