NEW-YORK, February 22 - RAPSI. Counsel for Russian businessman Viktor Bout disagreed with the prosecutors' February 15 letter in support of Bout's solitary confinement in a special New York prison ward for dangerous criminals.
Earlier U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin expressed doubt that the Russian businessman with no criminal record and not involved in terrorism really deserved the solitary confinement he has been kept in for 14 months. The court held special hearings on Bout's prison conditions at the counsel's application.
In response to the judge's request for its motives the prosecution pressed for Bout's custody as he is allegedly "a threat to the world security."
The prosecution summed that Bout had access to financial resources, weapons and had connections with Charles Taylor's regime in Liberia.
Bout's defense attorney Albert Dayan called the prosecutors' arguments far-fetched and groundless. He insisted that Bout was driven by commercial considerations in the charged intent to enter into an arms sale transaction, rather than a maniacal urge for killing Americans.
Judge Scheindlin is expected to notify the parties of her opinion in writing.
The jury returned guilty verdicts on all four counts related to a conspiracy to kill Americans and U.S. officials, attempted acquisition and export of surface-to-air missiles, and support of terrorism by cooperation with the Colombian FARC guerrilla organization.
Bout faces from 25 years up to life in prison. Sentencing is set for March 12. Bout has pleaded not guilty.