Thai court grants extradition of alleged Russian arms dealer | world | Hindustan Times
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Thai court grants extradition of alleged Russian arms dealer

world Updated: Aug 20, 2010 13:30 IST

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A Thai appeals court on Friday granted a request by the United States to extradite Viktor Bout, an alleged Russian arms dealer dubbed the "Merchant of Death", on terrorism charges.

Bout, said to have inspired the Hollywood film "Lord of War" starring Nicolas Cage, has been fighting extradition since his March 2008 arrest in Bangkok in a sting operation involving US agents.

He faces life in prison if convicted in the United States on terrorism charges, including conspiracy to kill US officers or employees and conspiracy to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile.

His young daughter -- who attended the hearing accompanied by his wife -- broke down in tears after the court delivered its ruling.

"The court has decided to detain him for extradition to the US," judge Jitakorn Patanasiri said, overturning a ruling last year by a lower court which had refused to send him to the United States.

"This case is not political, it is a criminal matter," the judge said.

The Russian refused to talk to journalists as he was led out of court shackled at his wrists and ankles.

The United States had pressed Thailand to hand over Bout.

The US State Department called in Thai ambassador Don Pramudwinai this week "to emphasise that this is of the highest priority of the United States," spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters on Thursday.