US denies Russia request for convicted arms dealer

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 11, 2012 02:10 hrs

Washington, Nov 11 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The US Department of Justice has refused to transfer convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to Russia to let him serve his prison term at home.

"After considering all of the appropriate factors in this transfer application, the United States has denied the request to transfer to Russia," the department said.

Bout's attorney Albert Dayan said: "We have just received a denial. The US Department of Justice cites the seriousness of the crime and says it does not want to create an undesirable precedent."

The denial report reads in part as: "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."

Viktor Bout, a former Russian military officer, 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.

The businessman, who denies the charges against him, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in April 2012. He is serving his prison term in the US Penitentiary, Marion (USP Marion) in Illinois.

Russia has tried to have Bout transferred from the US in line with the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, but has failed.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has reiterated the view that Bout's prosecution was political in nature, and said Russia will do anything it legally can to get him sent home.

--IANS/RIA Novosti


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