Viktor Bout's lawyer files appeal
NEW YORK, January 31 - RAPSI. Attorneys of Russian businessman Viktor Bout, convicted for arms trafficking in the United States, have filed an appeal against the guilty verdict, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.
Bout was sentenced to 25 years for conspiring to sell arms to Colombian militants and is serving his sentence in a medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois.
The appeal reads that Viktor Bout is innocent and that he was mistakenly accused of conspiring in a plan to kill US nationals and to deliver surface-to-air missiles and provide material assistance to a foreign terrorist organization.
The attorneys also write in the 200-page appeal that many questions in Bout's trial were left unanswered and his guilt was not proven convincingly. The lawyers believe that the Russian businessman was prosecuted based on personal or political reasons.
A former Soviet military officer, Viktor Bout was convicted in November 2011 of conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals, including military officers and employees, conspiring to supply man-portable anti-aircraft missiles, and of selling millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. Last April he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Bout has consistently denied the charges against him. Russia attempted to have Bout extradited from the United States in line with the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, but without success.