Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Taipei Times - archives
`Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout denied bail by Thai court

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008, Page 1

A Thai court denied bail yesterday to a purported Russian arms dealer who is wanted by the US, saying it feared the suspect might try to flee the country, his lawyer said.

Viktor Bout, 41, was arrested in Thailand last week at a Bangkok luxury hotel after a US-led sting operation. He was charged with conspiracy for trying to smuggle missiles and rocket launchers to a rebel group in Colombia that is a US-designated terrorist organization.

Bout, also known as "The Merchant of Death," is being held in a Thai prison while authorities investigate whether he used the country as a base to negotiate the deal with terrorists. The Russian denies any wrongdoing and applied for bail yesterday.

"The court has denied bail," Bout's lawyer, Lak Nitiwatanavichan, said. "The suspect is being detained on severe charges for alleged engagement with international terrorists and the court said if it grants bail the suspect might escape..."

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