Bout is serving a 25-year sentence in an Illinois prison for conspiring to kill American nationals in Colombia after being sentenced in April 2012. He was convicted in November 2011 on four counts of conspiracy to sell antiaircraft weapons and other arms.
Voice of Russia New York correspondent Vasili Sushko spoke with Bout this week via email about the denied extradition and more.
Mr. Bout, we recently published an interview with your attorney, Albert Dayan. He told us news that your transfer to Russia was denied by the US Department of Justice. Were you surprised?
The refusal of my transfer is not BAD news. This is exactly according to the script of the Department of Justice. It was not a surprise for me, as I was expecting this. They spent too much money. They wouldn't give me up so easily.
Can you give us an update on your life in a prison?
I am okay. I am trying my best to stay on top of everything. I have been trying to follow the news every day. It sure is frustrating with the lack of access to information, and lack of reading materials in various languages. I have been doing a lot of exercises: yoga, Pilates, running, playing volleyball with other inmates. I have been doing a little bit of drawing, listening to good music: classical, classical Indian, Brazilian, Latino and whatever I can find through the Bureau of Prison’s ‘iTunes-ish’ sales program. (BOP began selling MP3 players in August) Songs are sold separately however, and often, you can’t buy just any classical music as some symphonies and movements will not be there. Also, you cannot create playlists, but even so it is a good addition to the grim reality.
By now you are most likely well aware the President Barack Obama was reelected. What are your thoughts on this? Did you think either one of the candidates was a better choice?
Regarding the U.S. elections, I think it was more of a selection than an election. Honestly, it is more of a choice like ‘Coke or Pepsi.’ Both belong to the same corporative party of Wall Street. Both would stage wars. Both would send more drones to kill more people in foreign lands. Both will blindly support Israeli occupations and both would have to deal with the meltdown of the economy. I believe other candidates like Ron Paul, Jill Stein of the Green Party and other independents, really had more realistic approaches to solve problems.