Russia slams U.S. on extradition

Oct. 29, 2009 at 11:55 PM

MOSCOW, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Arm-twisting by the United States to convince Thailand to extradite a Russian arms dealer is "unacceptable," the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Andrei Nesterenko, a ministry spokesman, said U.S. pressure was reported by Thai news agencies, the Novosti news agency reports. Viktor Bout, 42, a former officer in the Russian Army, has been in custody in Thailand since March 2008.

"We consider such acts, which are of an illegal nature, unacceptable and incompatible with a fair trial for Bout," Nesterenko said.

Bout is under indictment in the United States on charges he conspired to sell arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, a guerilla organization. Thailand said its investigation determined the FARC is not a terrorist group since it controls territory.

In the past, Bout has been accused of shipping weapons to former Liberian President Charles Taylor and Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

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