U.S. hopes for 'very soon' extradition of alleged Russian arms dealer
Washington expects suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to be extradited from Thailand and face trial in the United States in the near future, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley said.
"Thailand is going through an internal process and we expect this to be resolved very, very soon," Crowley told a press briefing in Washington on Friday, RIA Novosti reported.
Bout, 44, was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 at the request of the United States. His extradition to the United States was ordered by the Thai appeals court on August 20, but was not carried out because the United States brought the second set of charges against him in February.
These charges were dropped in early October, bringing the so-called Merchant of Death one step closer to extradition on an earlier U.S. request.
Bout must be handed over to the U.S. side within three months after the announcement of the sentence. If he is not extradited on November 20, he must be released and sent back to Russia.
In early October, Bout's wife filed a petition to the Thai parliament from her husband asking for an inquiry into his case.