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Bout may seek U.S. Presidential pardon – lawyer

MOSCOW, June 29 — The legal defense team of Russian businessman Viktor Bout will seek a pardon from U.S. President Barack Obama, if appeals fail, Bout’s lawyer, Viktor Burobin, said Friday.

After Bout was sentenced to 25 years in the U.S. prison for conspiring to kill U.S. nationals and sell arms to militants, Burobin said it was possible that the U.S. President could pardon the Russian, if approached to do so.

“We consider this possible… to apply to the U.S. Office of the Pardon Attorney. Maybe the U.S. president will pardon our citizen,” Burobin said.

He added there was a similar precedent in 2000 when Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned the U.S. citizen Edmond Pope who had been sentenced to 20-year imprisonment in Russia, on spy charges.

Pope who was convicted on December 6, 2000 for spying in for of the United States, was released from prison eight days later after Putin signed a pardon decree.

Apart from applying to the U.S. Office of the Pardon Attorney, Bout’s defense will also appeal to both the U.S. Court of Appeals and to the Supreme Court, Burobin told a press conference on Friday, arguing his innocence.

“Bout stands firmly on the position that he is not guilty and he will file appeals in compliance with all the available legal means within the U.S. legislation,” the lawyer said.

If neither of these works, Bout’s defense team will then urge U.S. authorities to extradite Bout to Russia so that he could serve the jail term in a Russian prison.

“If it happens, it will be the most unfortunate outcome of our work,” Burobin said, adding that he put hopes mainly on the appeal or presidential pardon. (PNA/RIA Novosti)

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