Alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout claims that Russian authorities have never responded to his requests for legal assistance in a case that could put him in a U.S. prison for life.
Bout, 44, is currently awaiting trial on charges including conspiring to supply arms to a Colombian terrorist group and killing U.S. nationals. He is being kept in solitary confinement in a high-security U.S. pre-trial detention center.
"I appealed to the Russian consul general in Thailand twice [with request for legal assistance], and, as far as I know, those requests were passed to the Russian Foreign Ministry. My appeals to the Russian president and prime minister were handed over on September 22 last year," Bout said in an interview with the Kommersant business daily published on Thursday.
"In January, after my extradition [from Thailand] to the United States, I sent the same request again, and in February I asked the Russian consul general in New York to assist me in improving incarceration conditions," Bout said.
"I have not received answers [to any of these requests] yet," he said, adding that he would be happy to get help from any Russian politician who is sincerely interested in defending the rights of Russian citizens.
Bout, an ex-Soviet military officer dubbed the Merchant of Death by western press, was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents. He was extradited to the United States in November last year after spending more than two and half years behind bars waiting for a decision on his extradition.
Bout denies all charges filed against him. He could face from 25 years to life in prison if found guilty under U.S. laws.
MOSCOW, March 10 (RIA Novosti)