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Russia accuses US of pressuring Bout during extradition

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Nov 18, 2010
The United States tried to pressure suspected arms dealer Viktor Bout into confessing to crimes he had not commited during his extradition from Thailand, a top Russian diplomat said Thursday.

Russia's consul general in New York, Andrei Yushmanov, made the comments after making the first visit by a Russian diplomat to Bout in New York, where he is now in detention.

"According to Viktor Bout, some pressure was put on him during his transfer," Yushmanov told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"He said that they tried to convince him to confess to things that he has not done, promising some general nice things in return. Viktor Bout rejected these attempts."

Yushmanov also said that the Thai authorities had taken away all Bout's personal possessions and he was experiencing some discomfort in the change from the hot Thai climate due to a lack of warm clothing.

His personal hygiene items had also been taken away, he added.

Bout pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges in a New York federal court Wednesday, after having been extradited from Thailand against Moscow's wishes.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had demanded urgent consular access to Bout.

"If there is a delay in the consular access then this will be another violation of the norms of international rules which have already been broken more than once in this case," the Interfax news agency quoted him as telling reporters in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

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Alleged Russian arms dealer pleads not guilty
New York (AFP) Nov 17, 2010
Russia's so-called "Merchant of Death," accused of running a global arms empire, pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges here Wednesday, after being extradited from Thailand against Moscow's wishes. "He will plead not guilty," a lawyer for Viktor Bout, 43, said in a New York federal court. Judge Shira Scheindlin then ordered Bout to remain in detention until a hearing set for January 10. ... read more

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