US seeks 30-year term for Russian arms dealer

New York, April 3 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The US justice department has called for a sentence of 30 years in jail for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, his lawyer said ahead of sentencing April 5.

“The justice department recommended the New York district judge Shira Scheindlin give Viktor Bout 30 years in prison,” said Albert Dayan.

The prosecutors substantiated their request for the long sentence by saying that Bout intended to sell several hundreds of missiles to a terrorist organisation to kill Americans.

On Nov 2 last year, the jury of the Federal District Court of New York found Bout guilty of conspiring to kill US officials and citizens, of acquiring and intending to use anti-aircraft missiles and providing support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), considered a terrorist group by the US.

Bout denies all charges.

“The judge will have to consider three offers. We hope that the court will take the defence side. The judge could hear and see everything and she had the possibility to see the obvious thing for us, the claims have not been proved,” Dayan said.

The judge has the right to drop the charges against Bout or order a new trial instead of sentencing Bout, he said.

“If the court does not take our side will file an appeal. If it takes our side then the prosecutors will file an appeal. But it is obvious that the whole Bout case is built on so-called ‘wrongful prosecution’. If this is not admitted in Bout’s case, then the term that exists in the American legal system loses its meaning,” Dayan said.

Bout’s arrest, extradition and trial were carried out due to political orders from Washington, Dayan said.

–IANS/RIA Novosti