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Alleged arms dealer to stay in Thai jail

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Alleged arms dealer to stay in Thai jail


An Russian alleged arms dealer dubbed the “Merchant of Death” has had a request for temporary release turned down by a court in Bangkok where he is being held.

Viktor Bout is wanted by US authorities on terrorism charges. His supporters say he is a victim of an anti-Russian plot. There were reports before the hearing that a plane had been sent to take him back to Moscow.

Through the bars of his cell Viktor Bout complained of his resentment at the length of the legal process:
“In a normal country, they take maybe 24 hours to decide. But here it took two months to figure out that they can’t charge them.”

Viktor Bout was arrested in a joint Thai-US sting operation nearly two years ago. American authorities accuse him of trying to sell weapons to Colombian rebels. Last year a Thai court rejected their extradition request, but an appeal is pending.

UN agencies and western governments also believe that Bout has delivered arms to dictators and warlords in Africa and Afghanistan.

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