BANGKOK: Thailand’s appeal court on Tuesday rejected a bail request by Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout as a legal battle over plans to extradite him to the United States looked set to drag into a third year.
The court is currently considering an appeal by Thailand’s government against a ruling by the criminal court last August that Bout, dubbed the “Merchant of Death” by some media, should not be sent to the United States to stand trial.
On Tuesday the court rejected the bail request by Bout’s lawyer, who asked that his client be released temporarily while the case continues, with the Russian embassy guaranteeing he would not try to escape.
Judge Jitakorn Patanasiri said Bout had missed a deadline for filing his bail request.
“So the appeal court has rejected the request,” Jitakorn told the court.
Bout, a burly former Soviet air force officer, has been detained since he was arrested in March 2008 at a luxury Bangkok hotel where he was allegedly arranging to sell surface-to-air missiles to US agents posing as Colombian guerrillas.
No date has been set for the appeal ruling on Bout’s extradition.