'Viktor Bout, the Merchant of Death'

for die Weltwoche, Bangkok

Viktor Anatolyevich Bout, born 13 January 1967, is a Tajik arms dealer.

He was arrested in Thailand in 2008 before being extradited in 2010 to the United States to stand trial on terrorism charges after having been accused of  intending to smuggle arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for use against U.S. forces. On 2 November 2011, he was convicted by a jury in a Manhattan federal court of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and officials, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles, and providing aid to a terrorist organization.A former Soviet military translator, Bout had reportedly made a significant amount of money through his multiple air transport companies, which shipped cargo mostly in Africa and the Middle East during the 1990s and early 2000s.Bout was equally willing to work with Charles Taylor in Liberia, the United Nations in Sudan, and the United States in Iraq, and he may have facilitated huge arms shipments during the 1990s into various civil wars in Africa with his private air cargo fleets.

Following his conviction, he was sentenced on 5 April 2012 to 25 years imprisonment by a U.S. judge. In June 2012, he was transferred to the United States Penitentiary, Marion, Illinois.

Alla Bout, his wife, supported him in every way she could.She visited him daily, brought him food and fought like a lioness to keep him in Thailand, because she knew access to him would be easier there.

© 2020 by Bianca Thielke