Thursday, May 21, 2015


FDC Miami
After his conviction in Federal Court, Richard Ammar Chichakli, the Syrian-American accountant who is considered to be Viktor Bout's former partner and money launderer, was transferred, via a very unsavory method known to criminal defense lawyers as diesel therapy*, to the Federal Detention Center, in Miami, Florida. This facility is primarily used for pretrial detention, or brief post-trial confinement. This makes no sense, from a correctional perspective.

Chichakli was convicted in US District Court in New York; his appeal has been filed before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which also sits in New York. The court-appointed counsel, who will be handling his appeal, is also in that state. Considering that there is most certainly an available bed, somewhere in the northeastern United States, his transfer to Miami, where coordination with his attorney will be difficult, will interfere with his ability to assist his attorney.

I am no friend of Mr. Chichakli; he and Viktor Bout moved arms and ammunition, to insurgents battling legitimate governments in Africa and Asia, and possibly elsewhere, and I do recall that he was a difficult inmate in the Federal facility that was confining him in New York, before trial, but he claimed that his defense was deliberately hampered by BOP actions. Punishing him by shipping him off to a location remote from his appeal only demonstrates to the public, and specifically to the legal community, that fighting for your right to defend yourself at trial can have consequences.

Richard Chichakli

 Remember, Chichakli is a US citizen; he will not be deported after his sentence is completed, unlike Viktor Bout. Also, he only has two years remaining on his sentence, due to his pre-trial confinement poeriod. He was sent to yet another detention center, which is very restrictive, and not a Federal Correctional Institution (FCI), even if his weapons background disqualifies him for  a minimum security facility, such as a prison camp.

I cannot help but wonder whether these circumstances occurred because Chichakli, in his days as an arms trafficker with Bout, acquired information, about foreign activities of certain agencies of the US Government, whom he worked with, that might prove embarrassing, if revealed to other inmates,should he be in General Population. Those questions have been asked before, regarding his partner, Viktor Bout, who is in a penitentiary with convicted terrorists, that specifically denies its inmates the ability to communicate with the outside world.  

One final note: Chichakli's sentence could very well be completed before the appeals court rules on his case.  

FDC Miami
* Diesel therapy is what happens when a Federal inmate incurs the displeasure of the Bureau of Prisons, or the US Attorney's Office where he was tried and convicted, or even the Attorney General of the United States, and someone in a position of authority wants to make a point. It is often considered to be a punitive and unjustified measure. The prisoners' route, from the place where he was incarcerated, to his final destination, where he will serve at least part of his sentence, is circuitous, often taking indirect paths that land the prisoner in out of the way sub-standard county jails, for an extended period of time, and place him in direct contact with inmates in higher security classifications, and who have been charged with serious crimes, or crimes of violence. It is unpalatable at best, and can expose white-collar prisoners to dangerous situations.

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