Russia disappointed with US refusal to extradite Viktor Bout
MOSCOW, November 12 - RAPSI. Moscow has expressed its disappointment with the US Department of Justice's denial of Russia's request to extradite convicted entrepreneur Viktor Bout, Russia's Foreign Ministry Envoy for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov told RIA Novosti.
The US Department of Justice's statement obtained by RIA Novosti reads in part: "The United States denied the transfer application because the prisoner has a pending appeal, because of the seriousness of the offence, because of serious law enforcement concerns and because the prisoner is a poor candidate due to his criminal history."
Dolgov said that Russia would continue to fight for the businessman's interests, doing everything in its power to have him returned home, as it believes that he did not cause any harm to the United States or its citizens.
A former Soviet military officer, Viktor Bout was convicted in November 2011 of conspiracy to kill US nationals, including military officers and employees, conspiring to supply man portable anti-aircraft missiles, and selling millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC.
Bout, who has consistently denied the charges against him, was sentenced to 25 years in April 2012. He is serving his prison term in the United States Penitentiary, Marion (USP Marion) in Illinois. Russia attempted to have Bout transferred from the United States in line with the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, but without success.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has reiterated the view that Bout's prosecution was political in nature, and has said that Russia will take all legal steps to get him sent home.
Bout's attorney Albert Dayan said Moscow may file a repeated request for Bout's transfer once he has served two years of his term, or in certain other cases, for example after the appeal by Bout's defense is considered.
Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008, but only extradited to the US in November 2010 after a protracted legal battle against the extradition finally failed when the Thai cabinet backed the US request to send him to America. Bout's defense has repeatedly claimed that the extradition was illegal.