Accused Russia arms dealer pleads not guilty in US court

[JURIST] Accused Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty in a US court on Wednesday and is currently being held without bail. Bout faces charges [AFP report] stemming from a 2008 indictment [text, PDF] for selling weapons to a terrorist group and conspiring to kill US nationals. Bout was arrested [Interpol press release] in 2008 in a joint operation carried out by US and Thai authorities in which he allegedly sought to sell arms to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) [CFR backgrounder]. Russia has continued to show strong support for Bout, claiming that he is an innocent businessman. If convicted, Bout could receive a maximum of a life sentence and a minimum of 25 years. Bout's next court date is scheduled for January 10.

Earlier this week, the Thai government extradited [JURIST report] Bout to the US to stand trail. In October, Bout filed an appeal [JURIST report] challenging the Bangkok Criminal Court's decision to dismiss [JURIST report] money laundering and fraud charges against him, which removed obstacles to his US extradition. According to Bout's lawyer Lak Nitiwatanavichan, the arms dealer was seeking to have these charges reinstated [Bangkok Post report] to avoid extradition to the US. In August, an appeals court in Thailand ruled that Bout could be extradited [JURIST report] to the US. The court's ruling overturned a decision it issued a year earlier, refusing to extradite Bout [JURIST report] on the basis that the accusations made by the US were not cognizable under Thai law.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.