News / Europe

US: Russian Arms Dealer's Extradition Will Not Affect Relations with Moscow

Alleged Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, right, escorted by Thai police commando, arrives at Don muang airport in Bangkok, 16 Nov 2010
Alleged Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, right, escorted by Thai police commando, arrives at Don muang airport in Bangkok, 16 Nov 2010

Suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has been extradited from Thailand to the United States to stand trial, a development opposed by Moscow.  U.S. officials say the move will not complicate U.S.-Russian relations, despite Russian comments to the contrary.

The United States has long been seeking the extradition of Viktor Bout, an alleged international arms trafficker who was captured in Thailand more than two years ago.   

Bout, a former Soviet air force pilot, is accused of selling weapons that have been used in conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and South America.  He will face trial in the United States on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist organization for use in killing Americans.

Moscow has long opposed Bout's extradition to the United States and called for him to be released and returned to Russia.

U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Tuesday that he does not believe this development will have an effect on U.S. relations with Russia.  He characterized the relationship between the U.S. and Russia as "broad and deep," and guided by mutual national interests.   

"We understand that on a number of issues, we agree to disagree sometimes," said Crowley.  "We have tensions that crop up periodically, and we work to manage those. I don't expect that this will have any impact on the relationship."

U.S. lawmakers told Thailand in August that its handling of the Bout case had not been fair or transparent, and they warned that his release could harm U.S.-Thai relations.

Speaking to reporters while on a visit to Kenya Tuesday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the extradition is a result of unprecedented political pressure on the Thai court system and government.  

Lavrov said Russia's foreign ministry considers the entire situation to be an outrageous injustice and that the ministry will continue to assist Bout.  

Crowley said State Department officials are aware of the Russian government's feeling about the extradition.  He emphasized that Thailand's decision to extradite Bout was just.   

"It is fully consistent with both our bilateral treaty obligations with Thailand and fully consistent with international law," added Crowley.

Also Tuesday, the deputy president of Russia's Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovski, accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency of framing Bout.  Zhirinovski said the situation will complicate U.S.-Russian relations.  

Bout has denied the charges against him, saying he is a legitimate businessman who operated an airfreight company.

But the United Nations has also sanctioned Bout for alleged arms trafficking activity and support of armed conflicts in Africa.

Thai police and U.S. drug agents arrested Bout in Bangkok in March 2008 as part of a sting operation that involved U.S. agents posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).  Bout was allegedly involved in a deal to provide Russian anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons.   

Last year, a Thai court rejected a U.S. extradition request on grounds that FARC is not a terrorist group.

The U.S. Department of Justice has said that the facts of the case, Thai law and the terms of the U.S.-Thai bilateral extradition treaty all supported Bout's extradition.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs