The Laundry Man by Kenneth Rijock ( Penguin/Random House UK)

Friday, August 24, 2012


Reports from Russia government press releases indicate that the wife of imprisoned arms trafficker Viktor Bout has asked the Foreign Ministry to request that her husband be transferred to Russian custody. A Russian official has met with Bout at USP Marion, where he is serving his sentence.  Apparently, a request has been made to the US State Department for the appropriate forms necessary to apply for Bout's extradition.

A treaty, to which both Russia and the United States are a party to, provides that a foreign national can be transferred to his or her home country, and serve their sentence there. Bout has appealed his conviction. Whether he will be required to abandon or dismiss it is not known.

Bout also has an additional Federal Indictment pending against him, as well as against his former associate, Richard Chichakli, believed to have been his money launderer, who remains a fugitive, and reportedly lives in Moscow. Under America  law, the United States Government could only try Bout for the charge for which he was extradited from Thailand, but thus far, the second case has not been dismissed.

The controversial, severely restricted manner in which Bout is presently being held by the Bureau of Prisons, with convicted terrorists, and literally unable to communicate with the outside world, and his lawyers,  together with allegations of entrapment, appears to have caused the Russian Government to enter the matter. Whether the US will release him we do not know.

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