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Russia condemns 'Merchant of Death' extradition

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Russia condemns 'Merchant of Death' extradition

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Russia on Tuesday hit out at the extradition of a former Soviet fighter pilot and alleged arms dealer from Thailand to the US.

Forty-three-year-old Viktor Bout, dubbed the “Merchant of Death”, was whisked by armed escorts from a maximum security Bangkok prison to a waiting US plane on Tuesday after the Thai government decided not to block his extradition.

Arrested in March 2008, Bout allegedly offered weapons to undercover US agents posing as Columbian FARC rebels.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the arrest as an “extraordinary example of injustice”, saying that Bout had only been handed over because of “unprecedented political pressure” put on the Thais by the American authorities.

Lavrov was speaking during a trip to Kenya.

Washington alleges Bout sold weapons to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, as well as several warring parties throughout Africa.

He faces a life sentence in the US if found guilty on terrorism charges. He denies any wrongdoing.