U.S. prosecutors have postponed the transfer of convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout from his Brooklyn jail to a super maximum security prison in Colorado, a paralegal for Bout's defense team said.
Bout, 45, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $15 million for conspiracy to sell weapons to Colombian rebels. He maintains his innocence.
“Prosecutors have just informed the defense and Judge Shira Scheindlin that they have postponed Victor Bout’s transfer to the Florence prison,” Andrei Garkusha told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
“It is good news for us,” he said. “There is hope that Viktor may be sent to a medium-security prison closer to New York where he could be visited by [Russian] consular officials.”
The Florence Federal Correctional Facility in Colorado, dubbed ‘The Alcatraz of the Rockies’ for its reputation as an impenetrable fortress, holds Ramsi Yousef, convicted for bombing the World Trade Center in 1993. Most prisoners in the facility are in solitary confinement.
The Russian businessman was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 as a result of a sting operation in which U.S. informants posed as Colombian rebels. In November 2010, after two years of legal wrangling, he was handed over to the United States to face the courts.
He spent 14 months in a solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Correctional Center before Judge Scheindlin ruled his imprisonment conditions to be softened and brought in accordance with the threat he posed to society. He was then transferred to the Brooklyn jail in late February.
Bout’s defense and family want him to be moved to a prison in Fort Dix, New Jersey, where another Russian, Konstantin Yaroshenko, has been serving his 20-year term for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States.