Russian authorities say they'll pressure the U.S. government, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to send home an ex-Soviet officer known as the Merchant of Death after he was sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges.
The subject of Viktor Bout will be raised in talks with Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted by the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass as saying Friday in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.
"We are not being guided by a desire to take revenge but by the desire to ensure the observance and respect of the rights of our countryman," Lavrov was quoted as saying. "We will actively support the appeal that Bout's lawyers plan and in any case will secure his return to his homeland. We have legal instruments for this in relations with the United States."
Bout, 45, the inspiration for an arms dealer played by Nicolas Cage in the 2005 film "Lord of War," was arrested four years ago in Thailand after he met U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration operatives posing as agents of Colombian terrorists. Bout had eluded arrest for years as the United States and the United Nations imposed sanctions against him after he was accused of breaking U.N. embargoes by supplying weapons to conflicts in Africa.