After the verdict of guilty, detention conditions of Viktor Bout, a Russian businessman who is in a New York prison, significantly deteriorated, reports ITAR-TASS, citing Aleksandr Otchaynov, Russian vice-consul in New York.
“The businessman was brought to the today’s consular visit in shackles, two pairs of handcuffs, and was escorted by three security guards. He is still in solitary confinement, any contact is forbidden. Bout is guarded by specially trained officers who are not allowed to speak to him,” said the diplomat.
Now, according to Otchaynov, Bout is considered “an extremely dangerous prisoner”. Therefore, he is not allowed in the prison yard, he never goes out of the cell for a walk.
According to Aleksandr Otchaynov, Bout continues to practice sports by running around the cell for at least two hours a day and doing physical exercises. He is allowed to read books in English; however, he often cannot use his right to make one call per month because of “an out-of-order telephone or absence of required special guards.”
When speaking about the psychological state of the businessman, the diplomat said that “Victor Bout is stout hearted, he is ready to fight, and is counting on the support of Russia.”
In addition, Otchaynov pointed out that “the verdict was not unexpected for the businessman”. “The outcome was a foregone conclusion, but the team of lawyers could show the inconsistency of the case. Everything was based on fiction rather than facts”, Otchaynov cites Bout.
The businessman’s lawyers intend to appeal against the verdict of guilty by 2 December. In addition, Bout’s defender Albert Dayan intends to bring the matter before the judge concerning the impartiality of the jury in connection with the interview given by Hizar Hobson to The New York Times, in which she mentiones the film Lord of War, based on Merchant of Death, the book by Douglas Farah.
Hobson did not specify exactly when she watched the film. At the same time she pointed out that she “saw this terrible movie with Nicolas Cage, but had no idea that it had anything to do with Victor Bout.”
On these grounds Bout’s lawyers suspect the jury of prejudice against the Russian businessman and perhaps on this basis will try to challenge the verdict.
The reason why a Russian citizen Viktor Bout, arrested in March 2008 in Thailand and extradited in November 2010 to the United States, was tried in New York is the fact that he was accused, among other things, of “a criminal conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals.”
The prosecutor alleged that Bout agreed to supply weapons to “international terrorist organizations, knowing that its purpose was to murder U.S. citizens and U.S. officials in Colombia.”
According to the prosecution, Bout and his accomplice, a British national Andrew Smulian, were going to sell the weapon to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), knowing about the terrorist nature of the group and that the weapon was intended to kill American pilots in Colombia.
Defense tried to convince jurors that the businessman did not intend to kill Americans and sell weapons to the FARC.
According to attorney Albert Dayan, the sole purpose of the businessman’s trip to Bangkok in March 2008 for a meeting with representatives of pseudo-FARC, which in reality turned out to be U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officers, was a deal to sell two of cargo aircrafts he had.
The conviction is expected to be handed down on 8 February 2012.