Pattaya Daily News

24 August 2010 :: 11:08:05 am 36358

Bout in Isolation as Russia Intensify Repatriation Pressure

The Russian government has stepped up moves to have accused arms dealer Viktor Bout repatriated from Thailand, despite a court ruling last week for his extradition to face charges in the United States. Russia’s Foreign Minster called the verdict “illegal and politically motivated” before revealing his governments intentions.
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Bangkok, the 23rd of August 2010: Amidst the continued media attention and pressure from both the United States and Russia, detained accused arms dealer Bout has now been moved into an isolation cell in his Thai prison, while both sides continue to sway the Thai government into making a move.

Speaking following the extradition ruling made by a Thai Appeals Court on Friday, Bout stated, “I’m not going to give up, I will fight to the end, here or in America.” Regarding his incarceration, Bout stated that he had been fairly treated by Thai authorities despite conditions being well below accepted standards in Russia.

“They make compromises, bring what I want, but these are exceptions and only two times a day,” he said. “So far, I am not permitted walks or phone calls, but I was promised to be allowed in a few days.”

“I scrubbed and cleaned my isolation cell,” Bout said. “[I] killed some 20 cockroaches. There is no bed in the cell as in all Thai prisons inmates sleep on floor mats on the concrete floor.”

Russian media source RIA Novosti report that the Russian government has since asked for Bout to be transferred to a “common cell” were he is allowed walks and proper nutrition. Russia’s Consul to Thailand Andrei Dvornikov has reportedly appealed to the prison authorities to allow Bout a daily visit from his wife.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reaffirmed Russia’s attempts to have Bout repatriated rather than extradited to the United States where he will stand trial on numerous charges including conspiring to assist a known terrorist organisation. Mr. Lavrov called Friday’s verdict “illegal and politically motivated.”

Prior to last weeks extradition verdict the United States brought new charges against Bout including money laundering, telegraph and internet-mediated money transfer fraud, and violating the U.S. president’s sanctions against them. Consequently, these new charges may hinder or prevent his extradition, which must be concluded within 3-months of the initial ruling under Thai law.

Despite the intense pressure from Russia, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, stated that the Thai government would heed the ruling of the Appeals Court, extraditing Bout in due process and in accordance with Thai law.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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