'Yair Klein out of Russian jail and on way to Israel'

Report: Former IDF Lt.-Col. sentenced to 10 years in Colombian prison for assisting militias freed after court rules not to extradite.

November 19, 2010 19:40
1 minute read.
Prison (illustrative)

jail 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Former IDF Lt.-Col. Yair Klein was released from a Russian prison and is on his way back to Israel, Israel Radio reported on Friday.

Klein had been held in the Russian jail since 2007, awaiting extradition to Colombia, where he is wanted on charges of assisting drug traffickers and right-wing militias.

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European court orders Russia not to extradite Yair Klein

In April, the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling forbidding Russia from extraditing Klein to Colombia. Russia appealed the decision, but the appeal was denied last month.

On June 22, 2001, the Supreme Tribunal of the Manizales district of Colombia sentenced Klein to 10 years and eight months in prison after convicting him of participating in the training and doctrine of illegal paramilitary groups. Soon afterward, the court issued an international warrant for his arrest.

Klein was detained by Russian authorities in August 2007. After several court cases, the Russian Supreme Court rejected his final appeal on May 22, 2008, and ordered Klein to be extradited to Colombia.

Klein’s lawyers then took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that Russia had breached the European Convention of Human Rights by failing to examine his claims that he would be seriously mistreated if sent to Colombia. The European Court immediately ordered Russia to suspend the extradition until it investigated the case.

Dan Izenberg contributed to this report

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