The United States is not considering the possibility of sending convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout home to Russia, a U.S. Department of State official said on Friday.
“I don’t think that we have the basis to do that, but I know that the ambassador will continue to discuss this problem with authorities,” Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman told the Moscow-based Ekho Moskvy radio station.
On November 2, a jury in Federal District Court of New York found Bout, a former Russian Army officer, guilty of conspiracy to kill U.S. officials and citizens, to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles and to provide support to terrorists.
Bout’s sentence is expected to be announced on February 8. He could receive a life behind bars.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has called for Bout to be sent back to Moscow.
“I am waiting for the official reply from the American side,” Russian Foreign Ministry human rights envoy Konstantin Dolgov commented.
“We think that the United States must review its position and Bout must return to Russia,” the diplomat added.