The US Justice Department has turned down Moscow’s request to hand over jailed Russian businessman Viktor Bout so that he can serve out the remainder of his 25-year prison term on home soil.
Bout’s lawyer, Albert Dayan, said on Friday that the Americans had cited the seriousness of the crime and wanted to avoid an undesirable precedent. Dayan said Russia could repeat the request in two years’ time.
Viktor Bout was sentenced by a New York court earlier this year after agreeing to sell arms to US undercover agents posing as Colombian guerrillas allegedly planning to attack American soldiers.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that it would press for Bout’s handover in line with the 1983 European Convention on extradition.
Moscow hopes that Washington will apply the 1983 Convention on the transfer of sentenced persons to transfer Russia’s Viktor Bout to Russia, the country’s deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Thursday.
The diplomat said that Russia is making every effort to bring Bout home and ease his detention conditions.
Bout was sentenced to 25 years in jail accused of plotting against the US as he intended to sell weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
He is now is a US prison and deprived of some basics to which all US prisoners are entitled.