Pattaya Daily News

31 August 2010 :: 10:08:58 am 37158

Accused Arms Dealer Contacts Thai PM over Extradition

Legal representatives of detained accused Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout on Monday submitted a letter to the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The letter largely sought justice for his client while stating that he will now fight the ongoing extradition bid under Thai law.
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Bangkok, the 30th of August 2010: Lak Nittiwattanawichan, Bouts main legal representative, handed the 11-page hand-written letter to the premier at Government House, asking for a fair trial, treatment and further protection for his client, who is now said to be in fear for his safety and freedom. The legal dossier was signed by Viktor Bout.

Prime Minister Abhisit was rather vague and unwilling in his assessment of the case and the aforementioned letter, merely stating that the government was waiting on a court ruling before any decisions are made on Bout’s extradition.

At present, Bout remains in Thai detention despite a court ruling for his extradition to the United States. He is currently held while the Thai courts investigate new charges filed by the U.S. concerning money laundering and wire fraud filed shortly before an extradition verdict was heard over ten days ago.

Bout’s lawyer now claims that he will fight the extradition ruling under Thai extradition law (1929), based on the agreement signed by both Thailand and the United States that documents pertaining to any potential extradition case can only be filed once.

The U.S. had a previous ruling on Boats extradition denied by the Thai courts in 2009 on claims that he aided a foreign terrorist organisation in procuring weaponry. In addition to this month’s successful extradition verdict and the ongoing case in Thai court, Bout’s lawyers are confident that these circumstances violate Thailand’s extradition law and therefore negate the previous court ruling.

In addition, lawyers working on Bout’s defence state an infraction made by prosecutors under Thailand’s Criminal Code (article 125), which specifies a case cannot be filed for indictment until questioning has been carried out on a suspect, consequently negates all previous decisions. Bout was and has never been questioned by a prosecutor before any of the cases were submitted to court.

Finally, due to the ongoing tensions between, Thailand, Russia and the United States over the extradition and trial of Viktor Bout, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry has held talks between the respective nation’s diplomats in an attempt to clarify the situation last Thursday.

Both nations were reassured that Thailand is strictly adhering to the rule of law and that the Thai government will not interfere with the judicial system for any potential political gains. In somewhat of a strange statement, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry spokesman insinuated that he hoped neither Russia nor the U.S. would effectively ‘hold Thailand to ransom’ over the Bout case by putting them in a “difficult situation”.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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