Butina was arm-twisted into plea deal with US authorities, says Viktor Bout

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MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. US authorities have managed to arm-twist Russian national Maria Butina into concluding a plea deal with the investigation and by no means deserves condemnation for that, another Russian convict serving a prison term in the United States, Viktor Bout, said in a teleconference on Thursday.

“In such conditions it is very hard to resist the type of psychological pressure she was subjected to,” Bout said. “She chose what she thought was better for her. Now she is to live on with this. I’m not trying to guess if she held firm or gave in. She was broken.”

“She has the right to decide. She has her whole life ahead, so I have no moral right to criticize her to any extent,” Bout said. “I would like to wish her all the very best and prompt return home.”

On December 13, a court in District Columbia heard Butina plead guilty to one of the charges brought against her – violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Earlier she signed a plea bargain with the attorney’s office.

Bout was detained in Thailand’s capital Bangkok in 2008 on the basis of a warrant issued by a US court. He was charged with illegal supplies of weapons to the group calling itself the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which is regarded terrorist in the United States. Bout was extradited to the United States in 2010. In April 2012, he was sentenced to 25 years in jail and a fine of $15 million.

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