Viktor Bout: 90 days in Solitary for Making Kombucha in Cell

Russian arms merchant Viktor Bout is serving his 25 year sentence at Marion, IL. He's in the highly restrictive Communications Management Unit. Having already lost his appeal, he sought a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. The Court denied it on October 26. (Case 08-cr-00365-SAS, SDNY, Document 124.)

His lawyer says he has been put in the hole for 90 days for making alcohol in his cell -- but it wasn't alcohol, it was Kombucha (a probiotic digestive aid drink.) He also lost 40 days of good time.

In other Bout news, the documentary The Notorious Mr. Bout, which the film's makers say is "the ultimate rags-to-riches-to-prison memoir" is now available online, and through iTunes and Amazon. It contradicts his image as the Merchant of Death as portrayed by Nicolas Cage in the earlier film "Lord of War." [More....]

After an intense sting operation by the U.S. government in Thailand, the career of internationally known arms smuggler, Viktor Bout, came to a decisive end. What led up to this sensational arrest was the epic life of a man veiled by the obscurity of post-Soviet Russia; a war profiteer, aerial delivery tycoon and international arms dealer with an empire so vast he was dubbed "The Merchant of Death."

In sharp contrast to this cartoon-like super-villain persona is another Bout: a philosophical family man who built his business from the ground up, traveling the world with an old-school camcorder and filming his adventures all along the way. With unprecedented access to his peculiar and salacious moments, the basis of Hollywood's Lord of War comes to life in this richly drawn portrait, the ultimate rags-to-riches-to-prison memoir.

Here's the trailer:

On a related note, pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko is still serving his 20 year sentence for drug trafficking. (At one point he said he was framed because of Viktor Bout.) In September, he filed an appeal of the denial of his motion for new trial. Last year, Russia launched a criminal investigation against 11 DEA agents involved in his sting and capture. It also warned Russian citizens against traveling to countries that have extradition treaties with the U.S.

In 2014, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued an official warning to all citizens who travel abroad, especially to countries that have extradition agreements with the United States. “The US administration makes a routine practice out of hunting for Russian citizens in third countries, with subsequent extradition and conviction in the USA, usually over dubious charges,” the document read.

Here's a long Guardian article on the Yaroshenko bust, which I dubbed "DEA's Most Excellent African Adventures" back in 2009. More here, here and here .

All of our Viktor Bout coverage is accessible here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    "communications management unit" (none / 0) (#1)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Nov 05, 2015 at 02:38:17 PM EST
    Gotta love the NewSpeak - or is it DoubleSpeak?

    by the way (none / 0) (#2)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 11:40:49 AM EST
    do we have here doubts about his guilt or not?

    I have no views and don't know the case.  What the reason for the new evidence and appeal claim and what is the summary of reason for which it was denied, if I could ask?

    follow the links (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 12:43:11 PM EST
    to my prior posts on the trial. They are very detailed.

    Regardless of guilt or innocence (none / 0) (#4)
    by sj on Thu Nov 12, 2015 at 01:37:37 PM EST
    of the inmate, the way the prison system uses solitary confinement is inhumane and should be a criminal offense.