UnNews:Thailand defends ‘Lord of War’ court decision
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23 August 2010
BANGKOK, Thailand -- Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is defending a court decision to extradite Russian Nicholas Cage to stand trial on his allegedly being the “lord of war” arms dealer charged in the United States.
Responding to Moscow's criticism that the extradition order was a political decision, Mr. Abhisit said the ruling was based on cold, hard evidence and free from outside interference, apart from the US Government’s Justice Department, who helped Thailand catch the culprit red handed.
Following the ruling on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Russian new agencies as saying the decision was political and unjust. “What is wrong with being a merchant of death?” Lavrov was quoted. “And what of law and order? It means nothing to Russia!”
The Russian Foreign Ministry also summoned Thailand's ambassador to Russia, Chalermpol Thanchitt, to protest against the decision to extradite Mr. Cage.
Mr. Abhisit played down threats by Russia, which said it would do anything necessary to return Mr. Cage to his home country.
"In a situation like this, pressure is normal. So it is best to avoid the subject," he said. “So lets not speak about it!”
The government will continue to explain the issue to both Russia and the US as it always does on a regular basis.
"The government has been saying all along to the US and Russia that it doesn't and it can't intervene in the justice process," said the prime minister, “apart from holding all the cards!” he smiled.
Mr. Cage was arrested in March 2008 in Bangkok in a sting operation in which he was lured to supply arms to US authorities that posed as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc.
The American and Thai police caught Cage red handed with 60,000 SAM surface to air missiles, as well as 4 thermo-nuclear bombs, each 20 megatons, as well as assorted weapons, such as Black Hawk Helicopters, and field artillery.
The Russian, dubbed the Merchant of Death, has denied the charges, claiming that it was all just a movie, and not real life. He is speaking about the filmed evidence, “Lord of War”, which Hollywood shared with authorities, showing Mr. Cage engaged in arms dealing with outlaws.
Sirisak Tiyaphan, chief prosecutor for foreign affairs, also rose to defend the country's justice system following Moscow's criticism.
"In pursuing Mr. Cage’s case, we are following proper legal steps. We focus on efforts to stamp out international crimes, not on international politics," he said.
On Russia's claim that it would bring Mr. Cage home, the prosecutor said that under Thai law, the case is finalized and the court order must be respected.
"If Russia doesn't agree, I am afraid it will find other ways. But I really have no idea what it plans to do," he snickered.