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Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer known as the "Merchant of Death," was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday by a federal judge in Manhattan.

Bout was convicted last fall on charges that he agreed to sell arms to U.S. agents whom he thought were Colombian militants intent on attacking American soldiers.

His attorneys have vowed to appeal the conviction, saying the U.S. government is persecuting an innocent man.

Bout was charged only in connection with the sting operation, but U.S. authorities said he has been involved in trafficking arms to dangerous dictators and conflict zones in Africa, South America and the Middle East since the 1990s.

(with Reuters)

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