US appreciates Thai extradition order for Russian arms dealer

Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout is often termed as "Merchant of Death".

Washington: The US has "appreciated" Thailand`s extradition order for Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout - often termed as "Merchant of Death" - and said it is looking forward to his expeditious return here.

"We appreciate very much that decision. Viktor Bout is somebody who for two decades was responsible for arms trafficking and supporting terrorist organisations on multiple continents -- South America, in Africa and in Asia," said John Brennan, Assistant to the US President for Counter terrorism and Homeland Security.

"We are very pleased with the cooperation of Thai authorities. And we are looking forward to his expeditious return here," said Brennan.

Bout was arrested in March of 2008 and the US had sought his extradition so that he could be tried in New York. Yesterday, the Thai appellate court had upheld the extradition request, or concurred that he could be extradited to the United States.

"This is something that a number of governments throughout the world believe is very important so that we`re able to stop these illegal arms traffickers from carrying out their activities, which are undergirding the ability of terrorist organisations and other groups to carry out attacks worldwide," the White House official said.

"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 organisation for use in killing Americans.”

“We have always felt that the facts of the case, the relevant Thai law and the terms of our bilateral extradition treaty clearly supported the extradition of Mr Bout on these charges," said acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G Grindler.

"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."


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