Viktor Bout was railroaded, expert says
MOSCOW, April 6 - RAPSI. Russian businessman Viktor Bout sentenced by a New York court to 25 years in prison for arms trafficking, was railroaded, believes Russell Mace, a criminal defense attorney.
"I think he (Bout) was railroaded all the way", Mace told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com).
He also pointed out some drawbacks in the Bout's defense. "I cannot believe no defense witnesses were called and in my opinion there should have been a rather extensive defense", - the lawyer said.
However, witnesses for the prosecution, such as the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent and the informers, did testify at the trial. The court received tapped telephone calls records.
"Bout's appeal is his last hope", Mace concluded.
Bout's lawyer Albert Y. Dayan said Judge Shira A. Scheindlin's ruling is not the end for him and his client and they will keep on fighting to establish the truth.
On the contrary, Bout's wife regards the sentence as a success and is hopeful to see her husband back home.
The U.S. Justice Department called for a 30-year prison sentence for Bout. In November the jury of the Federal District Court of New York found him guilty of conspiring to kill U.S. officials and citizens, of acquiring and intending to use Russian-made Igla anti-aircraft missiles and providing support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), considered a terrorist group by the United States.
The 45-year-old former Russian military officer has denied all the charges against him. In an interview to Voice of Russia Radio he accused the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) of hypocrisy and double standards, saying that it was wrong to jail a person "just for what he has said, even if he has done no wrong" while many arms dealers in the United States go unpunished.
Bout was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents and extradited to the United States in November 2010 after spending more than two and half years in Thai prisons.