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Extradition of Viktor Bout was not surprising

Kss

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The arrest and extradition of most famous “Lord of War” have been commented by leading political expert Ariel Cohen in his exlusive interview for Valdaiclub.com

I am surprised that the MFA of the Russian Federation has taken the position that Mr. Bout requires some privileged protection. This just baffles me. He is alleged to be a major international criminal figure. Why tie yourself to that mast? It is not clear why the Russian Federation is interested in associating itself with such a character.
If he is innocent, the US court will find him as such. As far as measures the Russian Federation can take first, it can provide consular support, help to select legal representation if necessary (although, I don't think Mr. Bout lacks the funds to pay for the best lawyer money can buy), and intervene by diplomatic channels to assure that Mr. Bout's rights are observed as those of any other defendant.

Anything beyond that will be seen as inappropriate intervention in the US court system. It's important to remember that the Russian leaders said that Russia has an independent court system. The jury is still out on that one, but the US truly has an independent court system which is older than the country itself.

And, if Mr. Bout is found to be agent of the [Russian] state, Russia may offer to exchange him for individuals that represent a high value for the US and are in the Russian custody. At this point, I doubt that this will be the route the Russian government is going to choose.

And no, I don't think that the court proceedings are going to derail US-Russian relations. The vast array of bilateral and multilateral issues is much broader than activities of one alleged weapons smuggler.

The full version of interview was published on Ariel Cohen: extradition of Viktor Bout was not surprising | The Valdai Discussion Club
 
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