Bout's Defense Hopes Biden Accepts Judge's Opinion On Swap In Talks With Putin

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 15th June, 2021) Russian citizen Viktor Bout's defense team hopes President Joe Biden considers the opinion of a US Federal judge who believes their client should be included in a prisoner swap.

"We are grateful to Judge [Shira] Scheindlin for her willingness to make it clear to the world that Viktor Bout has been in jail for far too long," Steve Zissou, who leads the attorney group representing Bout's interests in the US, told Sputnik. "She presided at Viktor's trial and heard all the evidence in the case. We are hopeful that her belief that the 13 years he has been in jail, thousands of miles away from his family, is more than enough punishment and will be heard by President Biden and considered when he meets with President Putin."

Earlier, Scheindlin, who sentenced Bout to 25 years in prison, said she supported the idea of exchanging him for Paul Whelan, Zissou's firm said in a release quoted by CNN.

The US and Russian leaders will hold their first meeting since Biden took office on June 16 in Geneva. In an interview with NBC aired on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that he is open to making a deal on exchanging prisoners.

Whelan, arrested in December 2018, is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence for espionage per a Moscow court's verdict delivered last June.