Russia slams Bout extradition, vows to bring him home

Russia on Friday angrily condemned a decision by a Thai court to extradite alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to the United States, vowing to do everything so he could return to his homeland.

Moscow: Russia on Friday angrily condemned a
decision by a Thai court to extradite alleged Russian arms
dealer Viktor Bout to the United States, vowing to do
everything so he could return to his homeland.

"We regret what is in my opinion an unjust decision, a
political decision that the appeals court in Thailand has
taken," Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov as saying on a visit to Armenia.

In a thinly veiled reference to the US, he added: "This
decision, according to the information that we have, was taken
under very strong pressure from the outside. This is sad."

"I assure you that we will continue to do everything
necessary to obtain his return to the motherland."

Lavrov described Bout as a "Russian citizen" and said
that Russian officials had over the last months provided him
with assistance and had been in contact with his lawyers and
family.

A Thai appeals court today granted a request by the US to
extradite Bout, dubbed the "Merchant of Death", on terrorism
charges.

Russia has consistently opposed Bout`s extradition to the
US and also hit out at the media`s presentation of him,
emphasising that he is yet to be convicted.

The foreign ministry said last year that the media
attacks on Bout were aimed at moving the case into the
political realm with the aim of harming improving US-Russian
relations.

PTI

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