Pattaya Daily News

18 March 2008 :: 16:03:03 pm 11928

Thai Prison Authorities Fear Master Of Death May Commit Suicide

According to the legal counsel of Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, reported in the Bangkok Post, today, 18 March, Thai authorities attempted to force him to take a plane to the United States hours after his arrest in Bangkok in a sting operation earlier this month.
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However, Bout said he wasn’t ready to go because he didn’t understand why he had been arrested and also didn’t have any plans to go the US. Bout’s counsel maintains the Thai Government were trying to shortcut extradition procedures.

Bout is wanted in the US to face charges of selling arms to FARC – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, considered to be a terrorist organisation by the US Department of Justice. Bout’s partner, Smulian was also present at the arms meeting, but is now under arrest in the US. Both men face up to 15 years in prison for conspiring to provide material assistance to a terrorist organization. There are rumours that Smulian may be prepared to do a deal with US authorities, testifying against Bout to obtain a reduced sentence.

Bout still languishes in the maximum security zone in Bangkok’s Special Prison in Chatuchak. His 12-day detention period is due to expire on Wednesday and Thai prosecutors will either have to apply for a further 12 day extension, or press charges. Meanwhile, Bout is being kept under 24-hour close surveillance through physical observation by prison officers and also by CCTV. There are also English-speaking Thai prisoners acting as spies. The rationale given for this unusual level of security is because the prison authorities are concerned Bout may commit suicide, according to Khun Wanchai Roujanavung, Corrections Department Chief.

Bout is somewhat of a celebrity in the Bangkok maximum security prison and special precautions are being taken because of his reputation of being a strong man, schooled in advanced self-defence methods of unarmed combat. The Thai prison authorities are ultra-concerned that he doesn’t escape, so much so that he has been denied normal inmate privileges, such as recreational periods. His only contact with massed prisoners is at mealtimes.

His lawyers are still attempting to deny that he is a transnational arms dealer, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Crime News

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