Thais rule to extradite Russian arms suspect to US

August 21, 2010 07:33

BANGKOK – A Thai appeals court on Friday ordered the extradition of suspected Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout to the United States, angering Moscow but paving the way to put the man dubbed the "Merchant of Death" on trial.

Shackled in leg irons, Bout vowed to prove his innocence in an American courtroom."We will face the trial in the United States and win it," Bout told reporters in Russian after the verdict, according to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.

The court ordered Bout's extradition within three months, overturning a lower court's ruling in August 2009 that rejected a US request that he face trial there. No further judicial appeals are possible in Thailand.

The ruling is a victory for the Obama administration, which summoned the Thai ambassador in Washington this week to emphasize the importance it placed on the case.

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