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    Thailand to extradite 'arms smuggler'

    Al Jazeera English

    by Al Jazeera English

    An appeal court in Thailand has ruled to extradite Viktor Bout, a suspected Russian arms smuggler, to the US, effectively ending a more than decade-long chase for the man dubbed "the merchant of death".

    The decision overturns a lower court's rejection of the US extradition request. The court said Bout must be extradited within three months or would be free to return to Russia.

    Bout, a 43-year-old former Soviet air force officer, is reputed to be one of the world's most prolific arms dealers. He has allegedly supplied weapons that fuelled civil wars in South America, the Middle East and Africa.

    The US has been lobbying intensely for Bout to be kept in custody - leading to accusations of political interference.

    Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports from Bangkok.

    [August, 20, 2010]