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Russia calls US sentence of Bout baseless, biased

Bout, 45, was sentenced to 25 years in jail Thursday after being found guilty of conspiring to sell arms to anti-US guerrillas in Colombia.



Moscow: Moscow on Friday condemned a US court`s
sentencing of Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout as "baseless
and biased" and said it would do all it could to ensure his
return home.

"The Russian foreign ministry views the US court verdict
sentencing Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison as baseless and
biased," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that Moscow would make "all possible efforts to
return Viktor Bout to the Motherland, using for this all the
existing international legal mechanisms," repeating a call it
made on November 3 when he was found guilty.

Bout, 45, was sentenced to 25 years in jail Thursday after
being found guilty of conspiring to sell arms to anti-US
guerrillas in Colombia. He was the inspiration behind the arms
smuggler played by Nicolas Cage in "Lord of War" (2005).

The Russian ministry condemned the US jury trial, saying
that it relied on "shaky evidence" and accusing the legal
system of carrying out a "clear political order."

It also said that Bout`s case would "remain among our
priorities on the Russian-US agenda."

The head of the Russian lower house of parliament`s
international affairs committee, Alexei Pushkov, said today he
believed Bout had not committed a crime and accused the United
States of anti-Russian bias.

"The Russian public has the sense that any case involving
Russian citizens or Russian emigres is decided in the US not
to the benefit of Russia, without considering its position or
even despite it," he said, cited by the ITAR-TASS news agency.

PTI

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