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Russia releases Israeli mercenary

posted by Cameron Sumpter

Colombia news - Yair Klein

Israeli mercenary Yair Klein has been released from prison in Russia and is being repatriated to Israel despite repeated efforts by Colombian authorities to have him extradited, reports Caracol Radio.

“Klein has been released and is currently en route to Israel,” an unnamed source told Interfax news agency.

Klein was convicted in absentia by Colombia for training paramilitaries and drug gangs, including Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel. He was sentenced to ten years and eight months in prison.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in April blocked the extradition of the Israeli, who was then serving a three-year jail term in Russia.

Russia initially agreed to extradite Klein, but on appeal to the ECHR, the court ruled that Klein would face possible torture and inhumane conditions if extradited to Colombia.

“This lack of cooperation is very surprising,” Foreign Minister German Vargas Lleras said last week. “We’re going to examine the possibility of an appeal against the decision. It is very unfortunate because Yair Klein has pending cases here, which he should respond to.”

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