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25 Sep, 2009 09:54

Thai court rejects Colombian “FARC dossier” from Viktor Bout case

Thailand’s court will not include materials sent by the Colombian Foreign Minister in the case against Viktor Bout. The diplomat gave his view on why the suspected gunrunner should be in jail.

In the letter Jaime Bermudez asks Kasit Piromya to do his best to inform the judge reviewing the case about “the nature and scale of the terrorist activity” of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombian (FARC). Bermudez hopes it “will prevent the release of such a globally dangerous gunrunner as Viktor Bout,” cites the document Kommersant daily.

Attached to the letter are more than 300 pages of media reports, which give “607 reasons why FARC is on international terrorist lists”.

On Friday, the Thai court said it would not consider the materials sent by the Colombian official. The Colombian documents were not properly issued to be included, and the case has already been finalized so no new document can be added anyway, reports ITAR TASS news agency.

Victor Bout was accused by US law enforcers with conspiracy to kill American citizens in Colombia by supplying the paramilitary group FARC with portable air defense missiles.

He was arrested and tried in Thailand, but the criminal court acquitted him of all charges, while FARC was named a political organization rather than a terrorist group. The court also backed the defense in ruling that the case against Victor Bout was politically motivated, and denied his extradition to the United States. Thai prosecutors asked the Higher Court of Appeal to overrule this decision.

Bout believes the letter from Colombian FM was sponsored by the US side, which “is trying to put pressure on the Thai court through the Colombian Foreign Ministry,” his wife Alla told Interfax news agency. She added she believed Colombian authorities had no right in interfere with the trial without a direct request and that prosecutors were desperate to find any new argument to support their case.

Kommersant cites a Russian Foreign Ministry diplomat as saying: “Colombia’s taking part in the case will obviously stall the trial even more, but we hope that the Thai court will not revise the initial ruling”.

Viktor Bout said he’s feeling “good… as usual” and his lawyers also remain optimistic about the outcome of the trail.

“I still believe that the Tai court would give him [Bout] the chance to be released on bail,” Lak Nitivat, Viktor Bout’s lawyer said.

The court of appeal is to rule on the case no later than in six months’ time. Its ruling will be final and cannot be challenged in Thailand’s jurisdiction.