U.S. Prosecutors Seek Life Sentence for Russian Arms Dealer

NEW YORK. March 31. KAZINFORM. U.S. prosecutors on Friday asked a New York federal judge to give a life sentence to convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, Kazinform has learned from RIA Novosti.

In a court filing, prosecutors substantiated their request for the severe sentence by saying that Bout intended to sell several hundred ground-to-air missiles to a terrorist organization to kill Americans.

Bout, who has denied all charges against him, faces from 25 years to life in prison.

The 45-year-old former Russian military officer, known as the Merchant of Death, was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents and extradited to the United States in November 2010 after spending more than two and half years in Thai prisons.

On November 2 last year, the jury of the Federal District Court of New York unanimously found Bout guilty of conspiring to kill U.S. officials and citizens, of acquiring and intending to use anti-aircraft missiles and providing support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), considered a terrorist group by the United States.

Russia does not list FARC as a terrorist organization.

A lawyer for Bout, who is awaiting sentencing on April 5, earlier asked the New York Court to drop the charges against him because of "wrongful prosecution."

Bout's wife Alla told RIA Novosti that her husband "does not deserve spending his life behind bars."

"I believe the request for such a sentence is hypocritical as the U.S. has enough of its own real criminals, murderers and terrorists," she said.


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