MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Tuesday that it believed the case against convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States, had been fabricated by U.S. special services.
“The court’s lack of desire to even hold public hearings to consider additional arguments about Bout’s innocence with the participation of many defense witnesses reflects concerns that a case fabricated by U.S. special services would simply fall apart before everyone’s eyes,” said Maria Zakharova, the ministry’s spokeswoman, according to Russian news agencies.
A Manhattan federal judge on Monday said Bout did not deserve a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence.
Bout was convicted in 2011 of conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers through his agreement to sell arms to informants posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which the U.S. government had deemed a foreign terrorist organization, and conspiring to acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles.
Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Richard Balmforth