Russia has handed to the United States documents required by the country to consider the extradition of convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the Russian Justice Ministry said on Thursday.
Earlier, Bout’s wife Alla addressed a message to the ministry asking for her husband to be transferred to Russia to serve his sentence at home. The ministry is Russia’s central body authorized to file extradition requests in the framework of the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
“In this connection, a request has been sent through the Russian Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic channels to the U.S. Department of Justice to provide documents stipulated by the convention’s Article 6,” the Justice Ministry said.
A former Soviet military officer, Bout was found guilty of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, including military officers and employees, conspiring to use anti-aircraft missiles, and selling millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC.
The businessman, who denies the charges against him, was sentenced to 25 years in April. Bout is serving his prison term in the United States Penitentiary, Marion (USP Marion) in Illinois.
The Russian ministry said there has been no response from the U.S. Department of Justice yet. It said that once the appropriate documents are provided, they will be submitted to a Russian court, which will make a ruling on administering the sentence in Russia.
The Russian Justice Ministry said a copy of such a ruling will “be handed to the U.S. Department of Justice as a guarantee that the sentence will be administered in Russia.”
Attorney General Eric Holder has said the United States may consider Bout’s extradition to Russia if it receives a request from the Russian authorities.
Article 6 of the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons stipulates that the sentencing state (in this case, the U.S.) provide to the administering state (Russia) a certified copy of the judgment and the law on which it is based. The sentencing state should also provide a statement indicating how much of the sentence has already been served, including information on any pre-trial detention and other relevant information.