All talk of the possible exchange of former CIA employee Edward Snowden for Russian businessman Viktor Bout serving a prison term in the United States is harmful and provocative, Bout's lawyer Alexei Binetsky believes.
"The Snowden story lies in an absolutely different sphere. In order to exchange him for someone, he has to be arrested first. Given the current economic and political situation as well as the state of Russian-U.S. bilateral relations there are no grounds for the arrest," Binetsky told Interfax on Monday.
Earlier the exchange of Viktor Bout for Snowden was suggested by Bout's brother, Sergei.
"All such talk is harmful and provocative," he said.
In this connection he compared the Snowden case with the case of the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.
"Great Britain did not agree to arrest Assange either, even though the United States strongly insisted on it," he said. "The question of exchanging Bout is closed because there are no legal or diplomatic grounds for it. There simply is nobody who could be of comparable status to qualify for an exchange."
He expressed doubts about the intentions of Sergei Bout who has "assumed an unconstructive approach."
"In the nine months that I have represented the interests of Viktor Bout I have arrived at the conclusion that there is no logic to the actions of his brother. If he wants to help him, he could contact Viktor's wife and offer assistance. But there are no contacts between them," the lawyer said.
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