18:15 GMT +314 October 2019
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    A journalist stands near a screen displaying convicted Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout in Moscow, on April 12, 2012, during a teleconference with Bout from his US prison

    Moscow to Seek Return of Jailed Russian National Bout From US - Foreign Ministry

    © AFP 2019 / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
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    Russian authorities will continue their efforts to secure the return of Russian citizen Viktor Bout, who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States, to Russia, notwithstanding the US Supreme Court's refusal to review his case, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On April 3, the US Supreme Court decided not to review Bout's case, despite the fact that his defense team filed the appropriate request on February 21. On Monday, Bout told Sputnik he was not going to file a pardon petition in the name of US President Donald Trump.

    "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue defending the rights of the Russian citizen, will continue monitoring the situation and take the necessary measures to provide him with consular and legal assistance, seeking his soon return to the Russian Federation," Zakharova said a regular press briefing.

    She noted that in their petition, Bout's attorneys reasonably argued that the US prosecutor's office had concealed vindicating evidence from the court, which consequently resulted in the use of incorrect legal criteria in the assessment of Bout's charges by the New York's Court of Appeals and District Court.

    "The questionable decision taken by the US Supreme Court completes the procedure of appeal against the verdict awarded to Viktor Bout as all the legal means of his protection as part of the US legal system are exhausted," Zakharova stressed.

    Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 in a joint operation between Thai and US authorities on charges of conspiring to kill US nationals by allegedly agreeing to supply Colombian militants with weapons. In 2010, he was extradited to the United States where he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

    In June 2015, Bout’s attorneys lodged a request to review the case in connection with new circumstances, but a first-instance court ruled against it in October. Bout's lawyers then moved to appeal this decision in the Appeals Court of New York, which later rejected the request in November 2016.

    In May 2016, the judge who sentenced Bout said that the verdict in the case was excessive and inappropriate, adding that the convicted Russian national was given the shortest sentence possible.

    Related:

    US Supreme Court Denies Considering Case of Russian National Bout
    US Supreme Court Decision on Appeal in Bout’s Case Expected Next Week – Attorney
    Russia Files Legal Brief in US Supreme Court in Support of Bout’s Case Review
    Tags:
    return, Maria Zakharova, Viktor Bout, United States, Russia
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