Friday, November 19, 2010
Attorney: Yair Klein released from prison
MOSCOW – An attorney representing Lieutenant-Colonel (Res) Yair Klein, who was jailed in Russia for allegedly aiding a terror organization in Colombia, says his client has been set free and that he would arrive in Israel in the coming days.
Klein was sentenced to 11 years in prison by a Colombia court for advising a local terror organization under the command of drug lords in the city of Medellin in the 1980s and '90s.
He was arrested in Russia three years ago on an international warrant, but a European court refused to extradite him to Colombia, citing reports of other cases in which those extradited were apparently tortured. Moscow then appealed this decision.
Since his arrest, Klein's family has fought extradition on the grounds that it would mean certain death. On October 19 their efforts proved successful, as the court rejected Moscow's appeal.
Klein's girlfriend, Michal Bar, confirmed the news in a conversation with Ynet as Klein made his way to the airport in Moscow. "It was a huge relief to hear of his release," she said.
Bar was one of the leaders in the campaign against Klein's extradition, for which many of his friends and relatives said the state had done nothing.
She said Klein was coming back to Israel "with a lot of strength and energy to go on with his life". Their meeting at Ben Gurion International Airport is to be the first since his arrest, after which they spoke on the phone just once