NEW YORK, May 14 - RAPSI. The wife of Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who has been sentenced in the United States to 25 years in jail and is soon to be transferred to a Colorado maximum security prison for terrorists, has written an open letter to the Russian authorities, RIA Novosti reports on Monday.
Alla Bout is appealing for her husband's defense on a political level.
Bout was arrested in March 2008 in Bangkok as a result of a U.S. led sting operation. The United States requested his extradition as one of the world's most wanted illegal arms dealer. The New York Federal Court jury found him guilty of planning to sell arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, which is on the list of designated terrorist organizations.
The court declared that Bout was not a terrorist and had not resorted to violent methods, and so ordered his transfer from solitary confinement into the general section of the prison. In spite of this, the authorities are planning to send Bout to the Florence Federal Correctional Facility in Colorado. This is a maximum security prison, holding al Qaeda members and other terrorists serving life sentences, reads the letter. Russian diplomats will not be allowed to visit Bout if he is placed in this prison.
Alla Bout says she has no hope to resolve this issue legally in the United States.
Bout's defense attorney Albert Dayan has requested the court to revoke the penitentiary department's decision to move Bout to the Colorado prison. According to Dayan, the prison conditions there are even worse than at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where Bout was kept in solitary confinement for nearly 14 months.
Dayan maintains that the decision was based on wrongly categorizing Bout as a terrorist, in spite of the court's previous findings.
In April. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow would take all possible legal steps to ensure the repatriation of Bout, along with Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was also convicted in the United States.