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SUPPRESSION Russia, US eye

 


March 8, 2008

THAILAND/CRIME SUPPRESSION
'Merchant of death' to stand trial in Thailand

A notorious Russian arms dealer will be put on trial in Thailand on multiple charges before being extradited to a third country, a senior Thai police official said on Friday.

Russia and the US have reportedly been moving to compete for the extradition of Viktor Bout.

Yevgeny Afanasiev, ambassador of the Russian Federation, yesterday met Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama, apparently discussing cooperation between the two countries in the possible extradition of Bout. The US Department of Justice said in a statement yesterday the US plans to pursue the extradition of Mr Bout from Thailand.


Russian national Victor Bout, 41, a former Soviet air force officer, dubbed the "Merchant of Death" for allegedly supplying weapons to terrorist groups, was arrested at a Bangkok hotel on Thursday.


He had been charged in New York with complicity in procuring and selling weapons to help terrorism. Thai Police Lieutenant General Adisorn Nontree, Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, told a news conference here that the US authorities alerted the Thai police that the suspect would travel from Moscow to Suvarnabhumi airport between March 3-13.


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