Thailand court approves US extradition of Viktor Bout

An appeals court in Thailand ruled Friday that accused Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout can be extradited to the US to face charges including conspiracy to kill US nationals and conspiracy to provide material support to a proscribe terrorist group. The court’s decision overturned a decision issued by the Bangkok Criminal Court last August, refusing to extradite Bout  on the basis that the accusations made by the US were not cognizable under Thai law. The appeals court ruled that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the group Bout is accused of supporting, is a cognizable terrorist group under Thai law and that Thailand is obligated to honor their extradition treaties with the US. Lawyers for Bout argued that his safety would be in jeopardy in the US and that he would be unable to receive a fair trial. They have also indicated that they will continue fighting Bout’s extradition by filing an appeal with the Thai government. A spokesperson for the US Department of Justice (DOJ), praised the court’s decision:

We are extremely pleased that the Appeals Court in Thailand has granted the extradition of Viktor Bout to the United States on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist organization for use in killing Americans. We have always felt that the facts of the case, the relevant Thai law and the terms of our bilateral extradition treaty clearly supported the extradition of Mr. Bout on these charges.

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