Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand will clarify with Russia over its necessity to extradite an alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, while the Russian foreign minister condemned the extradition of its national to the United states as “extreme injustice”.
The Thai premier made the remarks following the sudden extradition of Mr Bout, dubbed as “Merchant of Death”, Tuesday afternoon after the Thai Cabinet had no objection against the August 20 ruling of Court of Appeals to extradite him.
The court said the extradition must be done within 90 days, or before Nov 19.
The accused’s wife, Alla Bout, did not arrive in time to see her husband who had boarded a special US jet at 1.30pm and refused to give any interview to the media.
Mr Abhisit said the Thai foreign ministry keeps informing Russian authorities that Thailand has to comply with the law and from now on, Thailand will have to clarify with Russia over its necessity on the matter.
The Thai prime minister said Thailand cannot satisfy every person and when the court said that Mr Bout’s extradition has nothing to do with politics, there is no reason that Thailand will not extradite him to face trial in the US.
Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanyagorn asserted on Tuesday that Thailand’s move to extradite Mr Bout is lawful and that the attorneys believed that no countercharge could be filed against the Thai authorities.
Mr Panitan explained the detention of the alleged Russian businessman had been in accordance with the the Thai judicial procedures. The court also said the case had been concluded.
The Thai Cabinet acknowledged the court decision to extradite Mr Bout and exercised its administrative power to assign the Foreign Ministry, the Corrections Department and the Attorney General to proceed the extradition to the US, according to the spokesman.
“The Cabinet resolution is in accordance with the law. If Mr Bout’s lawyer or wife think that the extradition is unlawful, they can counter-charge against concerned authorities accordingly”, said Mr Panitan.
The Thai official added state prosecutors believe that the countercharge on Thai authorities cannot be done as it is groundless.
Mr Bout’s lawyer, Lak Nitiwattanawicharn however said on Tuesday that he will petition the court seeking its approval for detention and legal action against those who ordered the extradition of his client to the US.
Mr Lak stated that the action is unlawful, adding he will seek cooperation from experts on international law and fly to the US to be Mr Bout’s witness.
Immediately after the extradition of the alleged arms dealer, the Agence-France Presse (AFP) quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying that Mr Bout’s extradition is an “extreme injustice” and that his country would support Mr Bout by all means.
The Russian foreign ministry also issued a statement condemned the action as illegal and has no justification.
“There is no doubt that illegal extradition of V. A. Bout came as a consequence of unprecedented political pressure that the United States put on the government and the judicial authorities of Thailand”, AFP quoted the statement as saying.