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    Viktor Bout

    Viktor Bout Deprived of Phone Calls, 15 Days Added to Term for Interview With RT

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    Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who is in jail in the United States, has been deprived of telephone calls for two months, and his prison term has been extended for 15 days for a telephone conversation with the RT broadcaster, his wife Alla Bout told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Marion Prison authorities in the US state of Illinois began administrative investigation against Bout after a telephone interview with the RT broadcaster. The RT producer, whose name was previously included in the list of Bout's authorized contacts, handed the receiver to the host, who had not been registered as an authorized contact. According to the prison rules set for Bout, all his telephone conversations are tapped, and the transfer of the conversation to an unauthorized contact is considered a serious violation of the regime.

    "Viktor called me half an hour ago and said that a hearing on his issue had been held today, and that for a conversation with the host of RT, whose name was not on Victor's list of authorized contacts, he was punished with a two-month ban on phone calls and purchases in the prison shop, and 15 days of early release, awarded for good behaviour, have also been nullified, thus adding these days to his 25-year imprisonment term," the Russian businessman's wife said.

    Alla Bout added that her husband was allowed one 15-minute call home to warn the family that there would be no phone calls from him within the next two months and that communication with him during this period can only be maintained through a prison e-mail server in letters written in English.

    "Viktor said that during the hearing, which lasted only 15 minutes, he was told that when he heard the voice of a person not on the list of authorized contacts in the phone, he was obliged to immediately interrupt the conversation, and since he did not do it, he is punished," Alla Bout said, adding her husband was very upset about the ban.

    No instructions on behaviour during telephone conversations, in addition to the ban itself to talk with persons not listed in the list of authorized contacts, were never given to Viktor, she 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 rebels 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 2015. 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 April, the US Supreme Court decided not to review Bout's case, despite the fact that his defense team filed the appropriate request in February.

    In May 2016, the judge who sentenced Bout said that the verdict in the case was excessive and inappropriate, adding that the arrest took place after a false-flag intelligence operation against Bout.

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