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."
Read more on:    us  |  russia

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.