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02:09

USA: Moscow offered 15 US citizens for arms dealer Viktor Bout, says wife

United States, New York City
September 10, 2019 at 22:19 GMT +00:00 · Published

Russian officials offered to exchange up to 15 US citizens serving sentences in Russia for convicted Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, revealed his wife Alla Bout at a press conference in the Russian Consulate General building in New York on Tuesday.

Alla Bout said "some steps taken by Russian government" to agree a prisoner swap but the US side refused the offer, stating that the citizens were of "little interest" to them. She added that the US continues to imprison Bout "as a warning to others".

She also accused the US government of running "a calculated public opinion campaign" against her husband.

"It is [useless] for me to apply to American funds from the point of view of some defence lawyers, I think, they would rather advocate for Sentsov and Pussy Riot activists than Victor Bout."

The man widely known as the 'Merchant of Death' is serving a 25-year prison term at a Virginia jail after being convicted of illegally selling weapons to the FARC in 2011.

02:09
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Russian officials offered to exchange up to 15 US citizens serving sentences in Russia for convicted Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, revealed his wife Alla Bout at a press conference in the Russian Consulate General building in New York on Tuesday.

Alla Bout said "some steps taken by Russian government" to agree a prisoner swap but the US side refused the offer, stating that the citizens were of "little interest" to them. She added that the US continues to imprison Bout "as a warning to others".

She also accused the US government of running "a calculated public opinion campaign" against her husband.

"It is [useless] for me to apply to American funds from the point of view of some defence lawyers, I think, they would rather advocate for Sentsov and Pussy Riot activists than Victor Bout."

The man widely known as the 'Merchant of Death' is serving a 25-year prison term at a Virginia jail after being convicted of illegally selling weapons to the FARC in 2011.

SOT, Alla Bout, Victor Bout's wife (Russian): "Just a few days before our departure from Moscow, it became known that the US Department of State met the request from the [Russian] Embassy in Washington DC to allow our family more time for visits, and allocated two additional days for us. By the way, I heard about it from Victor's phone call. He called me in a good mood and said that the prison authorities had offered our family the right to choose visiting days. So, they didn't just tell us that we can come only on certain days, rather we could choose these days."

SOT, Alla Bout, Victor Bout's wife (Russian): "I know that some steps were taken by the Russian government and they offered to exchange American citizens imprisoned in Russia. There are about 14 or 15 people they offered to exchange, but the American side didn't agree, as they have 'little interest' to them. As far as I remember, and I read it on the website of the Foreign Ministry, when there were meetings with Victoria Nuland [former Assistant Secretary of State], she told that he [Bout] will be in prison as a warning to others, and there won't be any conversations about the exchange for Sentsov or Savchenko."

SOT, Alla Bout, Victor Bout's wife (Russian): "It was a calculated public opinion campaign, and it is [useless] for me to apply to American funds from the point of view of some defence lawyers, I think, they would rather advocate for Sentsov and Pussy Riot activists than Victor Bout. You know, their position is that they are ready to defend and shout that human rights are being violated there [Sentsov and Pussy Riot cases]. But in our situation [they will not] I'm saying everyone has his own story. Yaroshenko, Seleznev and all Russian citizens have their own stories. We are now talking specifically about Victor. For example, if I come to them now, I will be told that he is the arms dealer, he helped terrorists, so there is nothing to discuss. It will definitely happen." *BUG AT SOURCE*

W/S Alla Bout with journalists

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