Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ex-Soviet officer to face trial in the US, a place he never visited before

The legal team of a former Soviet military officer who was charged with selling of weapons to terrorists was extradited to the United States from Thailand in November is appealing to a US court that it has no right to try its client.
Viktor Bout, a Russian businessman, has not been to the US before, did not commit any crimes in any of its territories or any of its extra-territorial jurisdictions according to the plea of his lawyers to Federal Judge Sheindlin, reported by The Voice of Russia.
Bout's camp is demanding that all accusations to him be dismissed. They also stressed that his extradition was unlawful and a political case and that the conduct of US special services violated the US Constitution.
Upon USA's request, the 44-year-old businessman was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 where he was jailed for two years.
He was alleged of plotting the murder of an American national and government official and supplying weapons to terrorists. Among his clients were Libya's Moammar Gaddafi, Liberia's Charles Taylor and the Taliban. He also supplied arms to countries that ignited the civil wars in Africa, the Middle East and South America, said the AP.
The Russian national was acquitted in Thailand in the case of the "complicity in terrorism." The Asian country denied twice his extradition to the US but failed to resist Washington's diplomatic pressure to surrender him late last year.
Before he was handed over to the US, he was put under psychological pressure by American agents, strip searched, handcuffed and interrogated lengthily.
In an affidavit, Bout said, "I told him (Thai deputy police chief) that I didn't want to speak to the Americans. I also asked for an attorney and to see a representative of the Russian Embassy. My request was not granted.
"I was told that I would not be able to survive in a Thai jail and that heat, hunger, disease and rape were things that I had to deal with if I was left there. I was told that I was facing a life sentence and might die in a Thai jail if I didn't agree to cooperate and go back to the United States with them."
He is currently detained in New York awaiting his trial on 12 September.
Watch the attached YouTube video.
Details of this report here.

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