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Thai PM may say decisive word in Bout's case - paper

RIA Novosti

12:22 29/08/2010

BANGKOK, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Wechachiwa and the cabinet of ministers have a right to take decisive decision over the case against alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the Bangkok-based Thai-language Daily News paper reported on late Saturday.

"Taking decision whether the appellate court's verdict on Viktor Bout's extradition will be implemented or not is within the purview of the country's executive bodies," Sirisak Tiyapan, executive director of international affairs at the Thai Prosecutor's General Office, told the paper.

"Extremely powerful evidence is needed for the move. So powerful, that the government to be capable to give Russia and the United States reasons why the verdict of the Court of Appeals was not implemented. However, I think this will not happen," Tiyapan said.

"Bout's lawyer is going to present me a petition. I will look into the reasons not to implement court's decision he offers the government. The executive power can really take own decisions over such cases, however decisions are usually taken before court," Daily News quoted Wechachiwa as saying.

"Mister Bout has been arrested before my government came into office. A judicial case of such type is in the purview of judicial authorities; my government has not interfered into the decision process," the premier said on Saturday.

Former Russian army officer Viktor Bout was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 on the request of the U.S., which accuses him of illegally trading arms.

Bout, ordered by the Thai appeals court on August 20 to be extradited to the U.S., said he had never been involved in the arms trade.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the Thai court's decision politically motivated, suggesting it was made to appease Washington. He also said Moscow would seek Bout's repatriation.

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