THAILAND: ‘Merchant of Death’ extradition rejected

Thailand’s government has said it will appeal against a Thai court’s decision rejecting a US request for the extradition of Russian alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout. Bout, who has been dubbed the “Merchant of Death”, has been fighting extradition since his March 2008 arrest in Bangkok while allegedly agreeing to supply missiles to Colombian rebels […]


‘Merchant of Death’ air cargo business alleged arms dealer terrorism Viktor Bout


Thailand’s government has said it will appeal against a Thai court’s decision rejecting a US request for the extradition of Russian alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout. Bout, who has been dubbed the “Merchant of Death”, has been fighting extradition since his March 2008 arrest in Bangkok while allegedly agreeing to supply missiles to Colombian rebels via his air cargo business.

A Bangkok court on Tuesday said that it did not have the authority to order the extradition of Bout because the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was not listed as a terrorist group in Thailand. News of the appeal came after the US said it was “disappointed and mystified” by the court’s decision to reject Bout’s extradition and hoped the Thai government would appeal against the decision. Bout’s colourful life story is said to have inspired the Hollywood film “Lord of War” starring Nicolas Cage.

The former Soviet air force officer was arrested in a sting at a five-star Bangkok hotel after allegedly agreeing to supply surface-to-air missiles to US agents posing as guerrillas from FARC. Bout had faced life in prison if sent to the US and convicted there on terrorism charges, including conspiracy to kill US officers or employees and conspiracy to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile. He denied the charges and insists that he ran a legitimate air cargo business.