Russia will this week release former Israeli special forces commander Yair Klein, who is convicted in Colombia for training the Medellin cartel and paramilitary groups, his lawyer told Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post. Klein will be deported to Israel.
Russia decided to deny Colombia’s extradition request for the 67-year old Klein after the European Court on Human Rights agreed with Klein’s defense that the mercenary had not received a fair trial and that if he were returned to Colombia to serve his 10-year prison sentence, he would be subjected to torture and inhumane conditions and his life would be in grave danger.
As part of their defense, Klein’s lawyers quoted Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos, who said earlier this year that “hopefully they’ll hand Klein over to us so he can rot in jail for all the damage he’s caused Colombia.”
The Israeli spent three years in a Russian jail after international police organization Interpol issued an international arrest warrant against him.
The mercenary was convicted in absentia for training hitmen from Pablo Escobar‘s Medellin cartel and later paramilitary organization AUC. The Medellin cartel and the AUC are held responsible for many thousands of murders and forces disappearances in Colombia.
After his arrival in Israel, Klein will be a free man as the Middle Eastern country does not have an extradition treaty with Colombia.