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Thai Court Decision Stalls Accused Russian Arms Smuggler's Extradition

Alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout

Alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout

A Thai court has rejected a request to drop additional charges against accused Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout, a decision that could slow efforts by the United States to extradite him.

Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, is reputed to be one of the world's most prolific arms dealers.

He has been jailed in Bangkok since 2008, when he was arrested in a U.S.-led sting operation.

The United States wants to try Bout on terrorism charges. Russia opposes his extradition.

A Thai court cleared the way for Bout's extradition in August, but legal complications over additional charges filed by the United States delayed the process.

The Bangkok Criminal court today rejected a U.S. and Thai request to drop the additional charges, further stalling the possible extradition.

compiled from agency reports