The Kremlin has criticised a court in New York for sentencing Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer, to 25 years in prison, calling the ruling groundless and politically motivated and vowing to press the US to return him to Russia.
"The American judicial system, carrying out an obvious political order, ignored the arguments of the defence lawyers" in sentencing Bout, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. It added that Bout is the victim of a smear campaign and it "considers the verdict ... to be groundless and biased".
Bout, the subject of the book Merchant of Death, was convicted in November of attempting to sell heavy arms to Colombian rebels intending to attack US pilots. He intends to appeal.