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Thailand to extradite arms dealer

Associated Press / November 16, 2010

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BANGKOK — The Thai government agreed today to extradite accused Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout to the United States, where he faces terrorism charges.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told reporters that the Thai Cabinet sided with an earlier Appeals Court decision that Bout, alleged to be one of the world’s major arms dealers, could be extradited.

Abhisit said Bout would be sent as soon as the United States was ready to receive him, suggesting that the suspect might already be on his way.

Bout, a 43-year-old former Soviet air force officer, was arrested in March 2008 in Bangkok as part of a sting operation led by US agents.

Bout has allegedly supplied weapons that fueled civil wars in South America, the Middle East, and Africa, with clients including Liberia’s Charles Taylor, Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy, and both sides in Angola’s civil war.

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