News / Europe

    Alleged Russian Arms Smuggler's Wife Calls US Extradition Illegal

    Alla Bout, wife of suspected Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout, reacts during a press conference at Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand, 22 Nov.  2010
    Alla Bout, wife of suspected Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout, reacts during a press conference at Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand, 22 Nov. 2010

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    Daniel Schearf

    The wife of alleged Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout says Thailand acted illegally in extraditing him to the United States and vows to launch a legal battle against Thai authorities.



    Bout is alleged to be one of the world's most notorious arms smugglers and is accused of fueling conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, and South America.

    He faces charges in a U.S. federal court of conspiring to kill Americans and supporting a terrorist organization, which he denies.

    Thai authorities turned him over to U.S. officials after more than two-years of legal battles that raised tensions between Moscow and Washington.

    His wife, Alla Bout says his extradition was illegal because there was still a case against him pending in court here.

    She says transferring her husband to the United States before the end of legal procedures breaches legal and humanitarian norms. She says by doing this the government of Thailand has once again demonstrated its complete subservience to Washington and willingness to fulfill any order from their American bosses.

    Alla Bout says she plans to file a legal case to force the Thai government to bring her husband back to Thailand to release him.

    She also seeks a visa to the U.S. where she says she will do all she can to defend her husband.

    Russia also calls the extradition illegal and Thailand did it under intense pressure from Washington.

    Thai authorities say they complied with Thailand's international legal obligations.

    Viktor Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 for allegedly offering to sell weapons of war to American undercover agents posing as members of the FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

    Washington considers the FARC, an armed rebel group fighting against the Colombian government, a terrorist organization.

    Alla Bout says her husband is the victim of a smear campaign by what she calls "unscrupulous United Nations experts", U.S. officials, and the media.

    Some regional political analysts say Viktor Bout, an air force pilot during Soviet times, was close to Russian intelligence and may have information Washington wants.

    Alla Bout says Russian diplomats told her U.S. officials offered her husband, herself, and their children political asylum in exchange for information on international arms trafficking.

    But, she was told her husband refused, saying he was innocent and that he would fight the charges in court.

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