Judge denies request to close Bout arms trafficking case

A judge denied a request to end an arms trafficking case against Russian businessman Viktor Bout and his trial will begin as scheduled, a lawyer told RIA Novosti.

The defense of Bout, dubbed by the press as the Merchant of Death, requested the court to end the case on the grounds that the defendant’s extradition from Thailand was unlawful.

The lawyer, Albert Dayan, said Bout will face the jury trial as scheduled, on October 11.

“We are set to persuade the jury that the case was fabricated by agents of U.S. special services and that Bout had no intention to supply weapons to FARC or anyone else,” the lawyer said.

Bout, 44, is being held in a New York prison while he awaits trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in October on charges including conspiring to supply arms to terrorist groups and conspiring to kill U.S. nationals.

The Russian national, who was arrested in a U.S. sting operation in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to the U.S. in November 2010, denies all the charges against him. He could face anything from 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

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