Statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Regarding the Extradition by Thailand Authorities of Russian Citizen Viktor Bout to the United States
Thai authorities reportedly have today extradited to the United States of America, Viktor Bout, a Russian citizen, who was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 on a US charge of illegally supplying arms to a terrorist group. Contrary to the two decisions of the criminal court of Thailand, which had found his guilt not proven, this citizen of the Russian Federation, after more than two years of detention in a Thai prison, has been extradited to US law enforcement agencies. These actions, according to Thai media, were made with the approval of the Government of Thailand. From the perspective of law what has occurred may not have a rational explanation and justification.
There is no doubt that the illegal extradition of Viktor Bout is a consequence of the unprecedented political pressure exerted by the United States on the government and judicial authorities in Thailand. All this can only be characterized as interference in the administration of justice and calls into question the independence of Thailand's judicial system and of decision making by the Thai authorities.
It is deeply regrettable that the Thai authorities succumbed to political pressure from outside and carried out the illegal extradition of Viktor Bout.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to take necessary measures to protect the legitimate rights of Viktor Bout as a citizen of the Russian Federation in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation and with the norms of international humanitarian law.
November 16, 2010