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Sick lawyer delays extradition hearing for Russian arms dealer jailed in Thailand

Sick lawyer delays extradition hearing for Russian arms dealer jailed in Thailand

A Thai court delayed a Monday hearing until next month on whether an alleged Russian arms smuggler could be extradited to the United States to face terrorism charges that could imprison him for life.
Viktor Bout, a 41-year-old arrested in Thailand on March 6, has been indicted in the U.S. on four terrorism offenses. They include conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to kill U.S. officers or employees, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile.
The charges were based in part on a covertly recorded meeting in Thailand on March 6. Prosecutors say Bout understood that leftist rebels in Colombia wanted to use weapons against Americans.
The United States is seeking his extradition on charges that could result in a life sentence.
The hearing set for Monday was postponed until July 28 because Bout's defense attorney Lak Nitiwatanavichan was suffering from heart problems, the court said.
Bout's arms dealings were among those that inspired a 2005 movie about the illicit arms trade. He had eluded arrest for years.
He has declined to comment to reporters in Thailand, but has long denied being involved in illicit deals.
Prosecutors have alleged Bout conspired with others to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons, including 100 surface-to-air missiles and armor-piercing rockets.
The U.S. indictment said they intended to sell the arms between November 2007 and March to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The leftist group has been fighting Colombia's government for more than four decades. It is listed by the U.S. as a terror group.
The indictment said the organization's violent acts directed against the United States and U.S. interests have included the murder of Americans, the kidnapping of U.S. nationals and the bombing of a restaurant in Bogota, Colombia, frequented by U.S. nationals.