Viktor Bout, weapons dealer, to be extradited to US from Thailand
Viktor Bout, the famed weapons dealer, can be extradited to the US, a Thai court ruled today. The so-called 'Merchant of Death' is accused of supplying dictators and warlords with weapons.
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A Thai appeals court ruled Friday that the 43-year-old Russian arms dealer could be extradited.
The ruling drew immediate criticism from Russia and praise from the United States. Bout has been accused of supplying dictators and warlords with weapons used in civil wars in Africa, the Middle East, and South America. (Read the Monitor's backgrounder: Who is Viktor Bout?)
The US Department of justice lauded the decision.
"We are extremely pleased that the Appeals Court in Thailand has granted the extradition of Viktor Bout to the United States on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist organization for use in killing Americans," Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler said in a statement today.
"The prosecution of Viktor Bout is of utmost priority to the United States, but the criminal charges he faces are not solely an American concern. He has been sanctioned by the United Nations for alleged arms trafficking activity and support of armed conflicts in Africa."