Thai court to make final ruling Friday on Russian arms dealer's extradition to U.S.
BANGKOK, August 16 (RIA Novosti) - An appeals court in Thailand will make its final ruling August 20 on the extradition of Russian businessman Viktor Bout to the United States on alleged charges of arms trafficking, Bout's lawyer said on Monday.
"I was called from the court's International Department and told that the hearing where a ruling to be announced will be held on August 20, on Friday," Chamroen Panompakakom said adding that his secretary checked the hearings schedule via the court's office.
The ruling will be announced in the morning, the lawyer said.
Former Russian army officer Viktor Bout, 44, remains in custody in a Thai jail after the Bangkok Criminal Court refused last August to extradite him to the United States, where he is facing four terrorism-related charges and a possible life sentence. He has repeatedly denied the accusations.
Bout was arrested in March 2008 under a request from the United States.
In August 2009, a Thai court ruled in Bout's favor, denying the U.S. extradition request due to a lack of evidence and because the case was politically motivated. However, he remains in custody because the United States filed new charges against him.
The new charges include conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, money laundering conspiracy, and wire fraud conspiracy.
The United States appealed the ruling denying the extradition but the Thai court has yet to rule on the appeal.
In April, a Bangkok court dismissed Bout's claim against a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer. In his claim, Bout asserted that U.S. officers violated Thai laws when arresting him in March 2008. However, the court said the DEA agent's whereabouts could not be established.
The court previously rejected Bout's claims against another two DEA agents, who had also participated in his arrest, on the grounds that they were U.S. embassy staff and had diplomatic immunity.
Bout denies all charges and says he has never been involved in the arms trade.
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