Alla Bout, the wife of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout who has been convicted by a US court for agreeing to sell weapons to US agents posing as members of Colombia’s FARC rebel group, told RIA Novosti about fresh evidence in his case that may help Viktor obtain a new trial.
“While in Thailand, we conducted a joint US-Thai advocate investigation into Viktor’s arrest and extradition and obtained several documents that are necessary to file a petition [for a new trial] in New York,” Alla Bout said.
Alla told RIA Novosti she had managed to build «a strong defense team» for her husband, who is serving a 25-year prison term. The team includes a law firm of former US Attorney General John Ashcroft and Alexey Tarasov, a «young and successful Russian advocate» working in the United States.
Alla said she is now in the Thai capital Bangkok where Bout’s attorneys are working to unearth fresh evidence that will be sufficient for a new trial. US District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan on Monday extended the deadline for Bout to file a formal petition until January 1, 2015 to allow his new defenders look into the case.
“The defense team came into possession of documents that prove these circumstances [of Bout’s arrest and extradition], including documents that miraculously vanished from Viktor’s Thai case during his Bangkok trial,” his wife claimed.
Alla Bout said the upcoming petition was a «joint effort» of his Russian and American defense teams. She praised defenders for their cooperation skills.
“It’s the first time since the case against Viktor was opened that people [lawyers] working in America and in Thailand have been able to understand one another and work together toward the same goal,” she stressed.
She said legal efforts to secure the release of Viktor Bout have been funded by money coming from the pockets of Russians across the country. Alla is the founder of a Road Home charity, which helps Russians in emergency situations abroad.
“Money to pay for the ‘Bout case’ have been coming to our foundation over the past year and a half from all across Russia, both from individuals and other rights nonprofits,” she said, adding they were grateful for the contributions whatever the size.
Bout was convicted in 2011 and is currently held at a medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois. He was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 in a joint operation between Thailand and the United States, which accused him of conspiring to kill US soldiers by allegedly agreeing to supply Colombian militants with weapons. He was extradited to the United States in November 2010 after a protracted legal battle.