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Pattaya Daily News

08 March 2008 :: 16:03:19 pm 30088

Victor Bout To Stand Trial In Thailand

BANGKOK, March 7?- A notorious Russian arms dealer will be put on trial in Thailand on multiple charges before being extradited to a third country, a senior Thai police official said on Friday.
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Russian national Victor Bout, 41, a former Soviet air force officer, dubbed the “Merchant of Death” for allegedly suppling weapons to terrorist groups, was arrested at a Bangkok hotel on Thursday.

He had been charged in New York with complicity in procuring and selling weapons to help terrorism.
Mr. Bout, handcuffed and stony faced, was paraded before journalists at the news conference. He refused to answer questions.
Police Lieutenant General Adisorn Nontree, Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, told a news conference here that the US authorities alerted the Thai police that the suspect would travel from Moscow to Suvarnabhumi airport between March 3-13.

Mr. Bout was believed to use Thailand as a venue for negotiating arms deals before being arrested on an arrest warrant.
Gen. Adisorn said Mr. Bout could face up to 10 years in prison or a maximum fine of Bt200,000 (US$6,250) in Thailand if he was found guilty on charges of procuring weapons for terrorists.
The general said a second suspect identified as Andrew Smulian was also the subject of a manhunt.
Thai police will seek court permission on Saturday to detain the Russian arms dealer without granting bail.

The suspect will be put on trial in Thailand before considering requests to extradite him to a third country.
Thomas Pasquarello, Bangkok-based regional director for the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), told a press conference here that the United States wanted to prosecute Mr. Bout on charges of helping terrorists.
“He’s called the Merchant of Death and the Man of War for a reason,” Mr. Pasquarello said. “We have warrants for Mr. Bout and we do intend to extradite him.”

In New York, the Associated Press quoted the U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia as saying the arrest “marks the end of the reign of one of the world’s most wanted arms traffickers.” Bout’s activities have focused on Central and West Africa, where he has been accused of funneling weapons since the early 1990s.

The Associated Press reported Bout’s business centered around a fleet of transport aircraft owned and operated by several closely held companies, also reportedly involved him in supplying warring parties in Afghanistan before the 2001 fall of the Taliban. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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