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A Russian lawyer for a suspected


A Russian lawyer for a suspected

Russian arms dealer detained in Thailand said the United States has no chance of securing his extradition under Thai law.

Viktor Bout, 41, was arrested in March in Bangkok during a joint police operation led by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

"As a lawyer I can say with certainty that if the case is reviewed [by Thai court] in line with the law, there is no chance for his extradition whatsoever," Yan Dasgupta said.

DEA prosecutors claim that Bout conspired with others to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a leftist group listed by the United States as a terrorist organization.

Thailand received in early May a formal request from Washington to extradite Bout to the United States, where he has been indicted on four charges: conspiracy to kill Americans and U.S. officers or employees, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiring to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile.

The former officer in the Russian army faces a life sentence if tried in a U.S. court, while Thai authorities earlier announced that they would not press charges against Bout.

Dasgupta, who claims that the investigation against Bout was politically motivated, also said that the "crime that Bout committed or planned to commit" was not a crime according to Thai law.

A Thai court held the first hearing in the Bout's case on September 22, which lasted for 12 hours and involved the testimony of three witnesses, including a senior U.S. Justice Department official.

The next hearing is set for October 10.

Western law enforcement agencies consider Bout to be "the most prominent foreign businessman" involved in trafficking arms to UN-embargoed destinations.

UN reports say Bout set up a network of more than 50 cargo aircraft around the world to facilitate his arms shipments, earning the nickname "merchant of death."

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