WORLD BRIEFING / THAILAND

Times Wire Reports

Thai prosecutors announced that they plan to challenge a lower court ruling that rejected a U.S. request to extradite suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

That means Bout, 42, dubbed the "Merchant of Death" for allegedly shipping arms that have fueled conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, will spend several more months in a Thai jail pending the appeal.

Bout was arrested in March 2008 at a luxury hotel in Bangkok as part of an elaborate sting in which U.S. agents posed as arms buyers for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which Washington classifies as a terrorist organization.

The Bangkok Criminal Court rejected the extradition request Tuesday because it deemed FARC to be a political movement rather than a terrorist group, which meant that Bout's alleged crimes were political offenses, ruling out extradition under a U.S.-Thai treaty.

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