CHIANGRAI TIMES– The counsel for Russian businessman and U.S. convict Viktor Bout is planning to remand his case to Judge Shira Scheindlin for review, based on a new motion which claims Bout’s unlawful extradition from Thailand, Bout’s attorney Albert Dayan told RIA Novosti.
“We have reliable information that U.S. government officials used pressure, intimidation and bribery against Thai officials who were involved in the decision on Viktors extradition to the United States. We expect the case to be remanded to Judge Scheindlin and dropped,” Dayan said in his interview with RIA Novosti.
To Dayan’s knowledge, U.S. pressure in regard to Bouts unlawful extradition was placed on high-ranking officials of the Thai presidential administration, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the judiciary, the police, the Foreign Ministry and the royal court. “At least five to eight” Americans were involved in this breach of judicial standards, though Dayan is as yet unwilling to name these individuals.
Scheindlin turned down the first motion filed with regard to Bouts illegal extradition while his case was under review in the New York federal court last year. She argued that she was not in the position to assess the laws of another country. This time the lawyer will claim violation of U.S. laws by U.S. officials.
Bout’s defense team is planning its own probe in Thailand, if supported by the Russian government, to find evidence to bring to a U.S. court. At the same time, his defense lawyers are planning to file a motion to secure the extension of the deadline for an appeal.
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.
Bout’s wife submitted an application to the Russian Justice ministry requesting her husband’s extradition to Russia, so that he could serve the rest of his prison sentence there. The ministry is authorized to submit such requests based on the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.