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Yesterday's Criminal Court decision to dismiss charges against Viktor Bout was not a victory for the accused arms smuggler.
Alleged Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout is escorted by members of the special police unit as he arrives at the Criminal Court for a hearing on October 4, 2010. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN
Normally when a court dismisses the charges against a defendant, it is a happy occasion for the accused.
That wasn’t the case yesterday, however, for alleged arms smuggler Viktor Bout. When the Criminal Court announced it had dismissed money-laundering and fraud charges against him, he looked stunned and dejected. He quickly sat down, hugged his wife and began to weep.
The reason for his disappointment, of course, is that the dismissal of the charges against him here means that the Thai government is now free to comply with an Appeal Court order to hand Mr Bout over to US authorities for extradition.
In the US, Mr Bout faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the charges against him, which include conspiracy to kill US nationals and providing support to a foreign terrorist organisation.
The US indictment accuses Mr Bout of using a fleet of cargo planes to transport weapons and military equipment to parts of the world including Africa, South America and the Middle East.
The 43-year-old former Soviet air force pilot, was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 after a sting operation involving undercover US agents posing as rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, considered a terrorist group by Washington.
Mr Bout has repeatedly denied all charges against him and insists that he ran a legitimate air cargo business.
The Thai government will happy to see Mr Bout leave the country. The case has put Thailand in a difficult diplomatic position between key ally the US and Russia, which has strongly opposed extradition.
Mr Bout’s only hope of avoiding extradition now seems to be a last-minute appeal. Immediately, after hearing the verdict yesterday, he went to his defence lawyer, Luck Nitiwattanawi-jarn and demanded action. ‘‘[Do] something now. The appeal. We need to appeal,’’ he said.
Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post.
dismissal – a decision by a judge that a court case should not continue การยกฟ้อ
charge – an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime ข้อหา
defendant – someone who has been accused of a crime and is on trial จำเลย
occasion – a time at which something happens โอกาส
accused – defendant; a person who has been charged with a crime จำเลย
alleged – claimed, but not yet proven ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
arms – weapons อาวุธ
arms smuggler – a person involved in the business of buying and selling weapons illegally ผู้ลักลอบค้าอาวุธ
money laundering – hiding the origin of money obtained from illegal activities by putting it into legal businesses การฟอกเงิน
fraud – the crime of intentionally deceiving someone or cheating in order to gain an advantage or benefit การฉ้อโกง การหลอกลวง เล่ห์เพทุบาย
stunned – very shocked or surprised มึน, ตกตะลึง, งงงัน
dejected – having lost their hope or enthusiasm, especially because of having failed at something รู้สึกหมดหวัง
hug –to put your arms round someone กอด
weep – to cry because you feel unhappy or have some other strong emotion ร้องไห้
comply with – to obey a rule or a law การปฏิบัติตามกฎ
Appeal Court (Court of Appeal) – a court that decides requests that a decision made by a lower court be changed ศาลอุทธรณ์ authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
extradition – sending someone accused of a crime back to the country where the crime was committed for trial or punishment การส่งผู้ร้ายข้ามแดน
maximum – the most possible ที่สูงสุด ที่มากที่สุด
sentence – a punishment given by a court of law การตัดสินลงโทษ
convicted – having been proven guilty of a crime by a court of law ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิดจริง
conspiracy – a secret plan by a group of people to do something bad or illegal การวางแผนอย่างลับๆ การสมรู้ร่วมคิด
terrorist – of someone who uses violence in order to achieve political aims ผู้ก่อการร้าย
indictment – an official statement accusing someone of a serious crime การดำเนินคดี
fleet – a group of vehicles, planes, boats, or trains, especially when they are owned by one organisation or person กลุ่มรถแท๊กซี่, รถโดยสาร, หรือเครื่องบินที่อยู่ในบริษัทเดียวกัน
cargo – things that are being sent by ship, plane, train or truck สินค้าที่บรรทุกและจัดส่งโดยเรือ เครื่องบินหรือรถไฟ
sting operation – an action by police to catch criminals by tricking them, e.g. by pretending to buy illegal drugs
undercover – working secretly using a false appearance in order to get information for the police or government ลึกลับ,ลี้ลับ,ทำอย่างลับ
posing – pretending to be something วางท่า
rebels – people who try to remove a government or leader by force ผู้ก่อกบฏ
deny – to say that you did not do something that someone has accused you of doing ปฏิเสธ
insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
legitimate – allowed by the law, or correct according to the law ชอบด้วยกฎหมาย
diplomatic – relating to relations between countries เกี่ยวกับการทูต
key – most important ที่สำคัญ
ally – a person, group, organisation or country who helps and supports another person, group, organisation or country พันธมิตร, คนกลุ่มหรือประเทศที่อยู่ในกลุ่มเดียวกัน
oppose – to disagree with or not approve of a plan or policy คัดค้าน
verdict – a decision by a court of law คำพิพากษา