Press Release / March 6, 2008


The arrest of Victor Bout in Thailand, who has been wanted for years by a number of countries for his role in illegally supplying weapons to conflicts in Africa, Asia and South America, has finally brought an end to the career of the Merchant of Death.

The Thai police and the US Drug Enforcement Agency should be congratulated for their work in arresting Bout. He should be extradited to the United States immediately to face trial.

Victor Bout provided the means with which barbaric regimes and murderous warlords have been able to carry out their horrendous acts. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have died in Angola, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Colombia, to name but a few countries, as a result of his well documented arms dealing.

The United Nations, Interpol, non governmental organisations, law enforcement agencies and arms trafficking investigators have been trying to find ways to have the world's most prolific arms dealer arrested for years, yet he always managed to evade arrest due to the protection that he has bought from the governments have been prepared to use his services despite his horrendous record.

Bout came to prominence during the Angolan civil war in the 1990s when United Nations expert panel investigators first publicly detailed his business dealings with UNITA. Bout also profited from the trade in blood diamonds from Sierra Leone, the DRC and Angola.

"Bout should be immediately extradited to the United States for trial following due process in Thailand. His activities over the last fifteen years have ensured that hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have died in wars in Africa, South America and Asia. His arrest shows that the tide is turning against those that have been complicit in some of the worlds worst human rights abuses," said Alex Yearsley.

Contact Alex Yearsley on +44 (0) 7773 812 901