Interviews

‘Even Judge Said I Did Noting Illegal’: Bout Gives First Big Interview After Release From US Prison

 / Go to the mediabankViktor Bout. File photo / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaEvgeny MikhaylovRT’s Maria Butina, who was herself sentenced to jail by US authorities on extremely questionable charges, interviewed Viktor Bout about his ordeal, which began with his arrest in Thailand back in 2008.Viktor Bout has given his first major interview to RT, as he returned to Russia after spending almost 15 years in prison. The Russian businessman, who was accused of smuggling weapons and detained in Thailand at the behest of the US, has consistently denied the charges against him, noting that Washington even claimed he had supplied the Taliban* with weapons and tanks.

"They accused me of transporting 200 T-90 tanks to the Taliban. How [is that even possible] to transport 200 tanks? This is 200 flights to Afghanistan. Over what region? Where is the proof?" he told RT's Maria Butina, adding that there were no ties between him and the Afghan movement, since the Taliban had placed a bounty on his head.

The Russian then lambasted the investigators for their blatant incompetence. Bout said that the agents who testified against him referenced the movie Lord of War (as Bout allegedly served as an inspiration for the main character, arms dealer Yuri Orlov), and noted that in his prison papers, instead of his parents’ names, the authorities used names from the Nicholas Cage movie.© SputnikViktor Bout Viktor Bout He added that even a judge called his activities ordinary for a businessman.

"A normal person might think – why all this circus … Even at the trial, the judge said … he is a normal businessman, and many businessmen do the same thing [here in the US], he did nothing illegal."

According to Bout, as part of a plea deal, he was offered 30 years in prison instead of a life sentence, but he rejected it.Bout pointed out that during his trial in 2011, he had to spend time in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, calling it a “Nazi-inspired institution” with “poisonous” white light, which is supposed to break the will of the inmates and make them go insane.

“When they see that you’re not going mad… sometimes they don’t bring you a meal, they don’t turn off the light," he said.

The businessman revealed that he had to force himself to eat the food, adding that it used to be better during his initial two years in a Thai prison. However, the main issue for him was the lack of communication with his family.

“The biggest challenge was not being able to communicate with my loved ones," he said, adding that he was allowed to make "just one phone call per month," but he had to use that opportunity to call his lawyers. "The fact that I could not talk to my friends and my family, this was the biggest challenge."

According to him, what is happening in the West now – with LGBT propaganda and drug proliferation – is a “civilizational suicide” that threatens to destroy the planet.The businessman stated he is enjoying his long-awaited freedom, and can now spend time with his friends and family, as well as restore his health. He also wished good luck to WNBA player Brittney Griner, who was released by Russia in a prisoner exchange deal.© Sputnik / Alexey Filippov / Go to the mediabankA law enforcement officer escorted US basketball star Brittney Griner before a preliminary hearing ahead of her trial in Khimki, outside Moscow, RussiaA law enforcement officer escorted US basketball star Brittney Griner before a preliminary hearing ahead of her trial in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia / Go to the mediabankBout was arrested in 2008 in Thailand after being accused of smuggling weapons to militant groups around the world by the United States. In 2010, he was extradited to the United States, despite protests from the Russian side, which called the move a “kidnapping.”Despite facing multiple charges, including weapons trafficking and conspiring to kill Americans, Bout repeatedly denied the allegations, and rejected a plea deal. He was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in 2012 by a Manhattan federal court.However, earlier this week, he finally came home in a prisoner swap deal between Russia and the US. Bout and American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in prison for trying to smuggle drugs into Russia in her luggage, arrived in Abu Dhabi, the UAE on December 8, where the exchange occurred.*The Taliban is under UN sanctions over terrorist activities.

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