MOSCOW, December 28 - RAPSI. The criminal prosecution against Russian citizens Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko is based on the testimony of law enforcement agents and questionable evidence, said the Foreign Ministry's envoy on human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov at the Wednesday briefing.
Viktor Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to the United States. In November the jury returned guilty verdicts on all four counts related to a conspiracy to kill Americans and U.S. officials, the illegal acquisition and export of surface-to-air missiles, and the support of terrorism through cooperation with the Colombian FARC guerrilla organization.
Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was sentenced in the United States to 20 years in prison for attempted drug smuggling on September 8.
Yaroshenko pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. Bout also denies all the charges against him.
The U.S. prosecution maintains that Yaroshenko accepted a proposal by U.S. agents to carry four tonnes of cocaine from South America to Africa and on to the United States.
Bout's arrest was based on provocation: the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which has also been combating terrorism since 2001, contacted him through an old acquaintance of his. DEA agents pretended to be FARC commanders.
The court is expected to pass sentence on Bout on February 8. He faces 25 years to life in prison.