Russia seeks Viktor Bout's release under Strasbourg Convention
MOSCOW, February 1 - RAPSI. Moscow will demand the return of Russian businessman Viktor Bout in accordance with the 1983 European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday.
"We keep in close contact with Mr. Bout and his attorneys, providing him with any assistance necessary over defending his rights and ensuring proper conditions in prison," the source said. "Our mission is to ensure our compatriot's return to Russia through the use of bilateral contacts and international legal acts such as the European Council's Convention, which was ratified by both Russia and the United States."
According to the source, Bout plans to appeal his verdict, which he views as politically motivated and ungrounded.
"The lawyers have drawn up an appeal to the New York Court requesting that the verdict be overturned, citing the multiple abuses committed during Bout's arrest and extradition from Thailand, as well as the weak rationale for the conviction. "We are also working with the US authorities who previously refused to extradite Bout because he did not withdraw his further appeals," the source added.
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 medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois.