THAILAND: “Merchant of Death” verdict due in August

Judges in Thailand said they would give until 30 June for closing statements on a US request for the extradition of a Russian who is alleged to be an international arms dealer dubbed the “Merchant of Death.” Viktor Bout has been fighting extradition since his March 2008 arrest in Bangkok on charges that he peddled […]


Judges in Thailand said they would give until 30 June for closing statements on a US request for the extradition of a Russian who is alleged to be an international arms dealer dubbed the “Merchant of Death.”

Viktor Bout has been fighting extradition since his March 2008 arrest in Bangkok on charges that he peddled weapons that were used in some of the world’s most violent conflicts, to customers including Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf (Philippines), Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone, the Taliban, Charles Taylor (Liberia), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), etc. A US indictment accuses him of using a fleet of cargo planes to transport weapons and military equipment to Africa, South America and the Middle East.

The 42-year-old former Soviet air force officer was nabbed in a sting at a Bangkok hotel after allegedly agreeing to supply surface-to-air missiles to US agents posing as guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Bout faces life in prison if sent to the United States and convicted there on terrorism charges and he has also been charged with conspiracy to kill US officers or employees and conspiracy to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile.