When Heather Hobson read out the final lines of the jury’s verdict to the Manhattan courtroom where Viktor Bout stood trial, she turned to look squarely at the accused arms dealer. “Guilty,” she said, directly addressing the craggy-faced, mustachioed former Soviet army officer. “It was really, really emotional,” she later told the New York Times. “He’s a very scary man.”
Bout’s native Russia is heaping scorn on his Nov. 3 conviction on four charges of trying to sell weapons to Colombia’s FARC rebels, a band of leftist militants who allegedly intended to use them against Americans. Russia is arguing that the U.S. government illegally pressured the jury into delivering a guilty verdict. They claim his 2010 extradition to the U.S. from Thailand was illegal, and the manner in which he was arrested—a Bangkok sting operation in which American agents posed as FARC rebels—was nothing less than entrapment.
Speaking with Russian state TV, Bout’s wife shared what she told him in jail, where he is now expected to stay for at least 25 years: “No matter what happens, don’t give up, because this is not the end of the story.”