Viktor Bout's attorneys debate legality of his extradition to the US
BANGKOK, November 5 (RAPSI) – The defense team for Russian businessman Viktor Bout, convicted and sentenced in the United States for conspiring to kill Americans, has filed an application with a Bangkok court challenging legality of Bout’s extradition to the US in 2010, TASS reported on Wednesday, citing his wife Alla Bout.
Conclusions of a Thai court will be forwarded to Bout’s American lawyers, who are preparing to file a retrial request in the United States. They believe that Bout was extradited in violation of Thai law. He was extradited by decision of the Thai court of appeals without the required approval by the country’s prime minister or government.
Mrs. Bout also said the lawyers hope to resume the case to review Bout’s extradition, which is now about three years old. The case has been drawn out in part because of the death of Bout’s Thai attorney followed by the appointment of new attorneys.
Alla Bout said there is a good chance of winning the case in Bangkok. “We have documents that were not presented to the court during the previous hearing for a variety of reasons,” she said. “Of course, we don’t expect the Americans to return Bout to Thailand, but [we want to draw public attention to the] moral and political aspects of this case.”
On November 4, a court in New York gave the Russian national’s defense team 60 days to file a petition to review his case.
Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 as a result of an elaborate sting operation. Shortly after his arrest, US authorities issued an indictment against him. He was extradited to the US in 2010 after lengthy Thai extradition proceedings.
Bout was convicted by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York of conspiracy to kill US nationals, conspiracy to kill US officers and employees, conspiracy to acquire and export a missile system designed to destroy aircraft, and conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. He was later sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Bout has consistently denied the charges against him. Russia attempted to have Bout extradited from the United States in line with the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, but without success.