Russian Arms Dealer Gets 25 Years in US Prison

Posted April 6th, 2012 at 12:15 am (UTC-5)
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A U.S. judge has sentenced Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges for attempting to sell missiles to Colombian rebels.

Bout, who prosecutors dubbed the “Merchant of Death,” shouted during the sentencing hearing that the charges against him were a lie.

He called himself a legitimate businessman. His lawyer says he will appeal the sentence all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Federal prosecutors said Bout's weapons sales helped inflame wars in Africa. They say he was planning to sell surface-to-air missiles to Colombian rebels to shoot down U.S. helicopters.

U.S. agents posing as rebels arrested him in Thailand in 2008. He was extradited to the United States, tried, and convicted in November.

Bout insisted he was trying to sell cargo planes, not weapons, to the agents

He could have been sentenced to life in prison. But Judge Shira Scheindlin there was “no reason to believe” Bout would have committed the crimes had he not been lured by the undercover sting operation.