Victor Bout, a man at the center of illegal supply of arms to convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor, is to appeal a US court decision that sentenced him to 25 years for conspiring to kill Americans.
Lawyers representing Victor Bout before Friday, will appeal the court’s refusal to review his case, RIA Novosti news agency (Moscow) reported on Monday citing Bout’s attorney Alexei Tarasov.
Victor Bout is a Russian national, who is serving a 25-year sentence in Illinois for conspiring to kill Americans, but on Monday, November 2, a court officially refused to review his case despite the fact that U.N. sanctions were lifted from him.
On September 2, the UN Security Council adjusted Liberia sanctions, by renewing an arms embargo on non-state actors for nine months, but excluding 21 individuals and 20 legal entities from the sanctions list.
They include Victor Bout who is serving his prison term in the United States, his brother Sergei, his partner Richard Chichakli and former President of Liberia Charles Taylor.
Tarasov said the decision to exclude Bout from the UN sanctions list could be used as newly discovered evidence in his client’s case.
The attorney said that although Bout’s sentence was unrelated to the UN sanctions, the prosecution used the fact repeatedly during his trial “to convince the court that Victor Bout was a dangerous criminal.”
UN Security Council resolution S/RES/2237 (2015), which was adopted on September 2, terminated the travel and financial measures set out in paragraph 4 of resolution 1521 (2003) and paragraph 1 of resolution 1532 (2004) but has renewed the arms embargo with regard to all non-governmental entities and individuals operating in Liberia until June 2, 2016.
Victor Bout was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand in March, 2008, and taken to the United States. In November, 2011, he was convicted of conspiracy to murder US nationals, including military officers and employees, and of selling millions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including hundreds of portable surface-to-air missiles and over 20,000 AK-47s, to the Colombian rebel group FARC.
Bout has consistently denied the charges. Russia attempted to have him extradited from the US under the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, but without success.
In June of this year, Bout filed a petition to have his case reviewed in light of newly discovered evidence, but lost the appeal.
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently refused to review Bout’s case. “Our petition was rejected while the fact that U.N. sanctions were lifted from Victor Bout was not acknowledged”, the lawyer said.