Viktor Bout is to be sentenced tomorrow at 4:30pm in room 15C of the Federal Court House in lower Manhattan. That sentence is to be handed out by the Honorable Shira Scheindlin. Viktor’s wife, Alla, and their daughter just recently arrived in the states, finally after encountering some visa delays as well as a 7 hour wait in the airport by authorities. Their request for a six month visa was denied and were only issued a two month visa.
Below is the heartfelt letter in full written by Lisa But to judge Scheindlin. Below the letter is a link for the letter as well.
TO: Honorable Shira Scheindlin,
U.S. District Judge,
Southern District, New York
Dear Mrs. Scheindlin,
My name is Lisa But, I am the daughter of Viktor and Alla But, their only child. I am a Russian citizen. I am 17 now. When my father, Viktor But, was arrested, I was 12. I could not come to terms with his arrest then, and I still cannot do it now. The pain of what happened to my father never goes away for long, it is always with me.
In Thailand, I went to the Court hearings and often visited my father in prison. I believed then that soon he would be free and our family would reunite. My father had suffered enough when his business collapsed in the early 2000s. I was too small to understand but now I see how hard it must have been for him to see his world collapse slowly before his very eyes. I felt that it would be unfair for him to go through another turmoil after what he had to face then.
So, when he was in that Bangkok prison, I hoped that the nightmare wouldn’t last, and my hopes were hugely strengthened by my father’s victory in the Court of first instance in Bangkok. But after his extradition all my hopes were ruined.
My family, we are believers. We believe in God and we follow God’s Commandments. My Dad taught me love for human beings around me, and he taught me to be responsible and honest with God, with people surrounding me, and with myself.
The young people of my generation in Russia believe, as I believe, that my father is innocent. I haven’t been experiencing any discrimination or ‘peer pressure’ from my classmates at school or my family’s acquaintances or from people in the street. Quite to the contrary, everybody is trying to help me, to comfort me, they all understand me and my feelings.
When boys and girls of my generation speak of my father’s arrest by American agents, I can feel their disapproval and even aggression towards America, towards US foreign policy and Americans in general. I do not wish these emotions to grow in them into an attitude, if and when some of these boys and girls grow up to become politicians, officers of law or Judges.
My Dad teaches me not to blame Americans for our suffering. He says, it is just a few men and women with an agenda who are to blame, and those few do not represent the American people or America as a nation.
My Dad is a good, kind and wise man, and I miss him greatly in my life. I miss him even more now, when I badly need his word and his advice, his approval and his shoulder to cry on, when I am on the brink of entering the most important and dangerous period in my life, adulthood. I want him back with me, as a part of my life and a participant of its main events. I want him to be actively present, as he always was before the arrest. I want him to be at my graduation, at family gatherings and Birthdays of our friends.
I was in the Courtroom in New York when the DEA agents and their informants testified. They were like actors on stage, saying other mans’ words written for them and learnt by heart. They were saying terrible untrue things that contributed in dark colors to the gloomy painting presented to the Jury by the prosecutors instead of the real man, my father. That painting was a pure image of evil, and it was that image, not the real man, my father, who was finally handed the guilty verdict.
I do not understand and never will, how some people can play games with real human beings’ lives, fate and future. The arrest, and then the verdict, took away from me my Dad, my best friend in this life. They tore apart my little family, which remains a tight and loving family despite the terrible torn wound and the pain we all feel.
I ask God every day to bring us back together again. I love my Mom and my Dad, and I need us to be together. I need my family back.
I know that it may not be the right and correct way to address a Judge, but I do not have any other option. I am asking You to restore my hopes in the future of my family.