News24

Russia slams arms smuggler sentence

2012-04-06 12:02

Moscow - Russia on Friday condemned a US court's sentencing of arms smuggler Viktor Bout as "baseless and biased" and said it would do all it could to ensure his return home.

"The Russian foreign ministry views the US court verdict sentencing Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison as baseless and biased," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that Moscow would make "all possible efforts to return Viktor Bout to the Motherland, using for this all the existing international legal mechanisms", repeating a call it made on November 3 when he was found guilty.

Bout, 45, was sentenced to 25 years in jail on Thursday after being found guilty of conspiring to sell arms to anti-US guerrillas in Colombia. He was the inspiration behind the arms smuggler played by Nicolas Cage in Lord of War (2005).

The Russian ministry condemned the US jury trial, saying that it relied on "shaky evidence" and accusing the legal system of carrying out a "clear political order".

'Victory'

It also said that Bout's case would "remain among our priorities on the Russian-US agenda".

The head of the Russian lower house of parliament's international affairs committee, Alexei Pushkov, said on Friday he believed Bout had not committed a crime and accused the US of anti-Russian bias.

"The Russian public has the sense that any case involving Russian citizens or Russian émigrés is decided in the US not to the benefit of Russia, without considering its position or even despite it," he said, cited by the ITAR-TASS news agency.

He said that Russia would judge the US by its position on extraditing Bout, seeing it as an indicator of "its readiness to overcome the conflict situations that have built up".

Another top parliamentary official, Pavel Krashenninikov, said "the Russian authorities must try to do all they can to achieve" Bout's extradition.

But Krashenninikov, the head of the lower house's legislative committee, added that the "chances of this are extremely small".

Bout's wife, Alla, earlier called the 25-year sentence handed to her husband a "victory" because it was the minimum possible, in comments broadcast on Russian television.

"The sentence they gave Viktor today is evidently an acknowledgement of the failure of the conclusions and arguments of the prosecution," she said in comments outside the courtroom.

"I consider this is a victory for Viktor and his defence."

Bout's defence team also announced plans to appeal his sentence.

Bout condemned his trial as a farce in an interview published in Izvestia daily on Friday, and said he did not believe an appeal would be successful.

"The trial against me is a real farce, a tragicomedy taken to absurd lengths," he said in an interview given hours before his sentencing.

"Even the minimum sentence the judge could give, 25 years, is equivalent to a life sentence. After all, I'm 45 now."

Comments
  • Helmut - 2012-04-06 12:19

    Arms dealers are the scum of the earth.Throw the key away.

      Fidel - 2012-04-07 09:15

      The good ol'USA being the biggest of them all. Glad we agree.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-04-07 09:57

      Fidel, Glad you found another article, you could p.ss on the USA. Well done !!!

      Fidel - 2012-04-07 10:26

      Got to chip away at this self appointed world police.

      Spyker - 2012-04-07 10:37

      No one greater arms dealer in the world than the ANC regime. The USA may be one of the larger manufacturers of arms - but far from being the 'dealer'...

      Spyker - 2012-04-07 10:42

      @Fidel.., The USA is not the "...self appointed world police..." - they are simply the the most advanced nation the known universe has EVER seen. Eg they are the only nation to have walked on another interstellar body. They invented (and own) the Internet - so do not comments here if you do not acknowledge their undisputed superiority. You and your kind (eg the bottom dwellers like Cuba and alike), are the scourge preventing the human race from advancing, with your parasitic demeanour.

      Fidel - 2012-04-07 11:45

      This is a country in which much of human culture has been rendered into machines for the manufacture of money, whose main achievements are inequality, corporate greed and propaganda. You and your kind (the vampires who feast on other human beings, are the scourge preventing the human race from advancing, with your pathological psychopathic exploitative demeanour. As Oscar Wilde once opined, "America is the only country on Earth that has gone from barbarism to decadence without any civilization in between." Truly the internet gives everyone a voice, even those who have nothing to add.

  • Ben - 2012-04-06 13:37

    Play with fire - you get burned! Fact!

  • Fidel - 2012-04-07 11:17

    Moderator, why are you binning my response to Spyker?

  • Fidel - 2012-04-07 11:40

    "Thursday after being found guilty of conspiring to sell arms to anti-US guerrillas in Colombia." Is it illegal for Colombians to resist US troop presence in THEIR country? And yet the US trains paramilitary and torture squads in its "School of Americas", who suppress nationalists in their own countries. These are the people who want to export democracy abroad using bombs!

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