US judge questions prison conditions in arms case

LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal judge in New York has upheld the jury conviction of a Russian arms dealer but questioned whether he is being held in harsh prison conditions.

Judge Shira Scheindlin said Wednesday she saw no reason to overturn last year's verdict against Viktor Bout (BOOT). But she was sympathetic to complaints about the isolated conditions he's been held in for more than a year. She set a Friday hearing on the issue, saying his conditions seem "harsh" and "brutal."

A jury convicted Bout on conspiracy charges after concluding he conspired to sell weapons to South American terrorists. Bout faces a minimum of 25 years in prison and a maximum of life when he is sentenced in March.

Bout was extradited in 2010 from Thailand. He was arrested there in 2008.