Viktor Bout's defense team to contest appeals court's ruling at U.S. Supreme Court

The legal team representing Russian businessman Viktor Bout is going to lodge an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court after the New York Appellate Court upheld Bout's conviction, the Russian citizen's lawyer Alexei Binetsky told Interfax.

The legal team representing Russian businessman Viktor Bout is going to lodge an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court after the New York Appellate Court upheld Bout's conviction, the Russian citizen's lawyer Alexei Binetsky told Interfax.

"The main goal today is to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the pieces of evidence that were overlooked during the proceedings at the lower court and return the case to the lower court for a new trial," he said.

On November 7, the New York Appellate Court upheld the conviction of Bout, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers and other citizens by having agreed to sell weapons to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informants who had been posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Simultaneously, a team of Bout's U.S. lawyers will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the man's current detention conditions by milder ones, Binetsky said.

"We will request Bout's transfer to a prison cell that in Russia is called a medium-security cell. In the U.S., such conditions permit quite an extensive element of freedom in terms of meals, access to the media, physical exercise, communication and meetings with relatives," the lawyer said.

This request will top the document Bout's lawyers are going to lodge with the U.S. Supreme Court, he said.

"Viktor is currently sharing a prison cell with very dangerous criminals, including Islamist terrorists," Binetsky said.

At the end of September, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld Bout's conviction. Albert Dayan, a lawyer representing Bout's interests in the U.S., said then that he planned to ask the entire 2nd Circuit to overturn the panel decision. Dayan, however, called off this petition at his client's request on November 4 and stopped to represent Bout's interests.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 on a U.S. arrest warrant. He was extradited to the United States in November 2010.

A jury at a New York court found Bout guilty on all the four counts in November 2011. In particular, he was found guilty of conspiring to sell weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist group. The court sentenced him to 25 years in prison and a $15-million fine on April 6, 2012. Bout himself pleaded innocent of the charges.

Bout, 46, is serving his sentence in the so-called communications control unit of the Marion Penitentiary, located 500 kilometers south of Chicago, Illinois.

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