Russian denies illegal arms deals
A Russian man who is alleged to have carried out a string of illegal arms deals has told a court in Thailand that he has been set up and should not be extradited to the United States, reported Aljazeera.
Viktor Bout denied that he had travelled to Colombia to supply weaponry to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), which has led a four-decade war against Bogota.
"I was framed ... I have done no crime, I have done no terrorist act," he told the court on Monday.
Thai police, backed up by US agents, arrested Bout, 41, on March 6 in a sting operation.
He faces life in jail if he is sent to the US and convicted on terrorism charges.
But, who is a former officer Soviet air force officer, asked why the US had not previously sent warrants to Russia calling for his arrest.
"They have framed me because the US does not want relations between Thailand and Russia to develop more," he said.
Bout, who has been nicknamed "The Merchant of Death" for the scope of his alleged activities, has been held at a maximum-security prison outside the Thai capital since he was caught in the sting operation.
He is accused of illegally supplying weaponry to the Taliban militia, al-Qaeda and Charles Taylor, a former leader of Liberia who is facing war crimes charges.