Viktor Bout, merchant of death, sentenced to 25 years for aiding FARC

Former Soviet military officer and arms trafficking suspect Viktor Bout (C) is escorted from a plane at Westchester County Airport November 16, 2010 in White Plains, New York. Bout was extradited from Thailand to the U.S. to face terrorism charges.

NEW YORK - Once the "Merchant of Death," Viktor Bout, the famed Russian ex-arms dealer and former KGB agent, was today sentenced to 25 years in prison for shipping weapons to Colombian rebels who sought to kill Americans, according to Russia Today.

The broadcaster said the defense would appeal.

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The heavy sentence was the minimum that could be imposed on Bout after his November conviction on conspiracy charges. Bout has insisted that he is innocent.

Bout was one of several people to inspire the main character in the 2005 film Lord of War, which addressed the global arms trade.

"Although Bout has often described himself as nothing more than a businessman, he was a businessman of the most dangerous order," prosecutors said in a pre-sentencing memo cited by The Associated Press.

"Transnational criminals like Bout who are ready, willing and able to arm terrorists transform their customers from intolerant ideologues into lethal criminals who pose the gravest risk to civilized societies."