Thailand faces difficult diplomatic choice on Viktor Bout's extradition

Updated On: Oct 08, 2010

The saga of Viktor Bout continues, as the case has once again put Thailand in a difficult diplomatic spot between key ally the United States and Russia.

Victor Bout, a former Russian Airforce officer, was arrested in Thailand in 2008, suspected of supplying weapons to various armies and terrorist groups in the Middle East, South America and Africa.

The U.S. wants Mr. Bout extradited to answer terrorism charges, while Russia has alleged that the case has been politicized. Bout claims that he has no chance of a fair trial in the U.S.

The difficult diplomatic choice for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva follows a ruling on Tuesday when the Thai court cleared a legal obstacle that had barred the extradition.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday conceded Russia was unsatisfied with the court's ruling, while pledging his government will do its bestto minimise the impact on international relations.

It is reported that Mr. Abhisit will meet with his cabinet, after court proceedings are finished to decide whether Bout should be extradited to the United States.


Thailand faces difficult choice on alleged arms smuggler [Los Angeles Times, 7 October 2010]

PM: Russia 'unsatisfied' with Bout case [Bangkok Post, 6 October 2010]

Thai Government Will Determine Bout's Fate [The Moscow Times, 7 October 2010] 

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