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4 Sep, 2010 11:15

The Bout case: a pawn of Thai domestic policy

A Thai parliamentary commission of the ruling coalition and opposition has spent three hours in a Bangkok jail cell talking to alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout, who faces extradition to the US after a recent court ruling.

Bout is currently in a Bangkok prison while the US is attempting to extradite him on other gun-running charges. It has been delayed again after Washington issued fresh claims, but then tried to withdraw them.The Russian businessman insists that it is politics that are at play.“Viktor Bout regards the verdict of the Court of Appeal as unjust. He listed a multitude of legal aspects, an absence of evidence and facts, illustrating the political nature of his case,” informed the Head of Russian Consular Official in Thailand Andrey Dvornikov.Thai lawmakers are trying to get to the bottom of what occurred in April when an aide to the current Thai prime minister visited Bout in prison.Opposition politicians want to know if the government is trying to weaken them by linking Viktor Bout to ousted premier Taksin Shinawatra.