Russia Promises Continued Support for Viktor Bout and Yaroshenko

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today promised Russia will continue to support the legal efforts of Viktor Bout and pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, both of whom were ensnared in U.S. DEA stings abroad and brought to the U.S. for prosecution. Bout is on trial now in New York for terror related charges arising from an alleged arms trafficking deal. Yaroshenko was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in an African drug sting, and is appealing.

Our citizens may be certain that our country will not leave them in an unjust situation…These cases have attracted wide publicity,” Lavrov said in a radio interview.

“We are actively supporting both [Bout and Yaroshenko], as well as other Russian citizens who find themselves in similar situations…This support includes hiring experienced lawyers if necessary,” the minister said.

Lavrov also blasted the U.S. for the way it handled the cases: [More...]

Bout and Yaroshenko “were provoked to make some statements that were immediately used as evidence of their [alleged] crimes.”

“In both cases the laws of Thailand and Liberia were blatantly violated, and in both cases elementary norms of decent behavior in terms of notifying Russia were also violated,” Lavrov said.

Bout's lawyer has said he will not call any defense witnesses. Is Bout going to place his hopes on the Second Circuit? As I wrote the other day, just last month the Second Circuit upheld the conviction of convicted arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar, now serving 30 years. New York's federal judges (and federal appeals court) seem committed to defeating claims of manufactured jurisdiction in sting cases.

There's something about paying one informant $8 plus million to set up 150 people that just doesn't sit right. Nor does it strike me as fair or a good use of money to create a sting in a foreign country that does not involve criminal activity in the U.S. or anyone planning criminal activity in the U.S., and then extradite the person ensnared to the U.S. for trial and decades of incarceration . Whether it's drugs going from Colombia to Africa to Europe or arms going from South America to Bulgaria, Russia or Africa, isn't our criminal justice system already over-extended enough?

For more, see our earlier posts on

On a related note, the Government announced this week there will be yet another DEA African Adventure trial as another defendant in the Yaroshenko African caper has now been extradited from Colombia. He will go on trial in New York because he's allegedly FARC and made a deal to fly cocaine to Liberia and the informant told him he planned to send some of his portion of cocaine to NY. Still waiting in the wings: Another indicted person in the case who's fighting extradition from Spain.

Meet your new DEA: Global Holy Warriors and National Security Agency rolled into one. As if there aren't enough real terror plots in the world, most of which have zero to do with us, we need to waste umpteen millions of dollars creating more. And enriching the pockets of informants like the one in the Bout case, a former Guatemalan soldier turned drug dealer, who the DEA offered safe harbor in the U.S. after he bribed his way out of jail in Mexico.

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    Asking our Justice Dept. (none / 0) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 01:52:46 AM EST
    To prioritize their efforts here at home in a common sense manner seems to be beyond their ability. It appears our violent crimes, major felonies, anti trust violations, and severe, financial white collar crimes have all been solved.

    After the Berlin wall came down, and the Soviet Empire collapsed, the mind reels as to how much good the J.D. could be doing here. But, it looks like exercising some restraint, not to mention common sense, for Holder's Department, is akin to trying to hold a basketball under water.

    George Washington told us, as did Dwight Eisenhower 200 years later, "keep your eyes, ears, and noses focused here at home."

    But, I guess Obama and Holder know better.