Decision in Bout's case casts doubt over U.S. judiciary's impartiality - Foreign Ministry
MOSCOW, February 10 - RAPSI. The most recent decision in the case of Russian citizen Viktor Bout puts in question the independence and impartiality of the U.S. judicial system, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
"The decision of a federal district court in New York to reject Bout's motion to reverse the guilty verdict passed by a jury on November 2 has raised serious doubts about the independence and objectivity of the U.S. court system," he said.
"Despite the clear lack of evidence produced by the prosecution and unlawful methods of physical and psychological coercion, the judge has acted in favor of the U.S. special services, which declared Bout in advance a near-public enemy and an accomplice of terrorists," he added.
"Our position remains unchanged. We believe that the U.S. authorities have failed to give sufficient evidence of the Russian citizen's guilt, having based the case on the jury's conviction about Bout's alleged criminal intent," Lukashevich said, stressing that the United States is fully responsible for "our citizen's life and health."
Judge Shira Scheindlin rejected on Wednesday night the motion to reverse the verdict. Bout's defense attorney Albert Dayan based the motion on the absence of direct evidence supporting the charges that his client conspired to kill Americans and U.S. officials. The court will pass the sentence in the case on March 12.
Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and then extradited to the United States. The United States has charged Bout with conspiring to kill Americans and U.S. officials, illegal surface-to-air missile trafficking and supporting terrorism by cooperating with the Colombian FARC guerrilla organization.
Bout challenged the verdict and filed several motions, arguing that the accusations leveled against him were not supported by the case materials.
Bout, who has never admitted to the crime, faces from 25 years to life in prison.