Thailand: Lawyers Claim Viktor Bout’s Extradition Was Illegal

The extradition of the convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout from Thailand to US may not have been legal, Bout’s Thai lawyers are expected to argue in  a Thai court Sept. 17.

Bout was extradited to the US in November 2010, two years after he was arrested in a US-lead sting operation in Bangkok. He was convicted in November 2011 of conspiracy to kill American citizens and aiding a terrorist organization, and received a 25-year sentence.

Albert Dayan, the lawyer who defended Bout in his US trial, told the press he is confident the new trial will prove that Bout’s extradition and trial were against international laws. Under pressure from the US, in 2010 a Thai appellate court overturned a previous decision against Bout’s extradition.

In a letter sent to the Thai authorities in August 2010, six members of the US Congress stated, “We find the potential release of a man responsible for countless deaths of innocents in Africa and elsewhere simply astounding.” However, during his trial Bout was only held accountable for conspiracy to kill American citizens in Colombia.

Russia has been fighting to bring Bout home, challenging the legality of the trial against him and saying that he is imprisoned in inhumane conditions.