BANGKOK, September 17 - RAPSI. A Bangkok criminal court has postponed until January 2013 its review of Russian businessman and convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout's extradition from Thailand to the US as the courts are still awaiting a written update from Bout.
Lawyer Lak Nitivat Vichan, who worked on Bout's case after his arrest in Bangkok in 2008, stated his doubts as to the lawfulness of Bout's extradition to the United States when he was still subject to the Thai court's jurisdiction. Lak Nitivat Vichan died last January and the hearings in the Thai court were postponed as a result.
"We found that the United States has still not responded to this request concerning Viktor Bout, which was submitted by the court via the Prosecutor's Office and the Foreign Ministry. In its request the court officially notified Viktor Bout of the death of his lawyer Lak Nitivat Vichan and asked whether he wished to continue with the reconsideration of his case in the Thai courts," a judge presiding at the trial said.
Following word from Bout, the court will hold a special meeting for the parties in the case to set a specific date for the next hearing, he said.
The reconsideration of Viktor Bout's case was initiated in 2011. Bout had won two extradition cases at the Thai courts of first instances but was taken to the United States in violation of local and international legislation after a Thai court of appeals dismissed the lower courts' decisions.
Bout was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents and extradited to the United States in November 2010 after spending more than two and half years in a Thai prison. The jury of the Federal District Court of New York found him guilty of conspiring to kill U.S. officials and citizens, of acquiring and intending to sell Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and providing support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), considered a terrorist group by the United States. Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison.