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    Russian 'Merchant of Death' to appear in Thai court on Feb. 16

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    Russian businessman and alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout has been summoned to appear in a Thai court on February 16, one of his lawyers said on Friday

    Russian businessman and alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout has been summoned to appear in a Thai court on February 16, one of his lawyers said on Friday.

    Former Russian army officer Bout, 42, remains in custody in a Thai jail after the Bangkok Criminal Court refused in August to extradite him to the United States, where he is facing four terrorism-related charges and a possible life sentence.

    "I was informed that my client had been asked to appear in court on February 16. However, I was not told why he had been summoned," Thai lawyer Chamroen Panompakakom told RIA Novosti.

    He suggested that Bout could face an additional questioning or the announcement of an appeals court verdict on his extradition case.

    A former lieutenant in the Russian military, who quit the armed forces in 1991, Bout then allegedly transformed himself into an international arms dealer, earning himself the nickname "the Merchant of Death."

    He was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents.

    The United States has accused Bout of conspiring with others to sell millions of dollars' worth of weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), among other illegal arms deals, and "threatening lives of U.S. citizens."

    Bout has repeatedly denied the accusations.

    The Bangkok Criminal Court ruled in favor of Bout in August and refused to extradite the Russian businessman to the United States citing insufficient grounds.

    Thai prosecutors representing Washington in the trial lodged an appeal on August 26 against the Bangkok court's ruling. The appeals court verdict will be final, as Thailand's Supreme Court does not review extradition cases.

    BANGKOK, February 5 (RIA Novosti)

     

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