Friday, August 20, 2010

Thailand to hand over 'arms dealer' to United States

A Russian man suspected of selling arms to insurgent groups around the world is to be extradited to the United States, a court in Thailand has ruled.

Source: BBC

This is Viktor Bout, a very successful businessman to some - international merchant of death to others. His possible connection with Georgia is shrouded in the same veil which has prevented the US authorities from taking him into their own personal custody until now, but Georgia is well known as an arms trafficking hub so it should come as little surprise if we should later learn that the use of Georgian airspace and/or ground facilities has aided his previous successes.

Russia, meanwhile, are requesting that he be repatriated. Russia will seek the repatriation of Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who is suspected by the United States of arms trafficking, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Former Russian army officer, Viktor Bout, 44, was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 under a request from the United States, which accuses him of illegally trading arms. He has repeatedly denied the accusations.

In August 2009, the Bangkok Criminal Court ruled in Bout's favor, denying the U.S. extradition request due to a lack of evidence and because it believed the case to be politically motivated. However, the United States appealed the ruling and filed new charges against him.

The Thai appeals court ruled on Friday to extradite Bout to the United States.

Lavrov called the decision illegal and politically motivated.


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