Thai PM: No interference in Russian arms dealer's case

13:53, August 29, 2010      

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Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said during his weekly TV program broadcast on Sunday morning that the government would adhere to legal procedures for dealing with the case of alleged weapons dealer Victor Bout.

He said his administration, with concern of good ties with both the U.S. and Russia, had not and would never interfere with the case.

Bout's extradition cannot be carried out yet because the court needs to first consider the implication of the U.S. to withdraw additional charges that it also filed against Bout.

Prime Minister Abhisit said he had instructed the Foreign Ministry to find ways for the U.S. and Russia to discuss the matter directly to create better mutual understanding.

Thailand's Appeals Court on Aug. 20 decided to extradite Victor Bout, an alleged world's premier weapons dealer, to stand trial in the United States on charge of terrorism and selling weapons to Colombian guerrillas within three months, turning down the Criminal Court's last-year decision.

Bout, a 43-year-old Russian ex-air force pilot, was said to have inspired the Hollywood film "Lord of War" starring Nicolas Cage. He was arrested at a Bangkok luxury hotel in March 2008 in a sting operation orchestrated by the U.S. agents posing as arms buyers of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Bout was subsequently indicted in the U.S. for conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to FARC.

He was also indicted for conspiring to kill U.S. officers or employees as well as conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. He could face maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.

Source: Xinhua


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