Friday, August 20, 2010

BBC News-Thailand To Extradite Russian Arms Dealer To U.S.

Suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout:
(Story reported by Alastair Leithead for BBC News)

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.

Viktor Bout, 43, is pleading not guilty on US charges of conspiracy to sell arms to Colombian rebels.

Mr Bout - dubbed the Merchant of Death - was detained in a joint Thai-US sting operation in March 2008.

Russia has condemned the decision and said it would work to secure his return.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the ruling as "unlawful" and said his government believed it was made "under very strong external pressure".

The ministry has summoned Thailand's ambassador to express its "extreme disappointment and bewilderment" at the verdict, the Agence France-Presse news agency reported.

The US said it was "extremely pleased" at the news.

(Click here to read the full story on the BBC News website)

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