European court bans Russian extradition of Israeli to Colombia

May 28th, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Moscow, May 28 (RIA Novosti) The European Court of Human Rights Wednesday ruled that Russia cannot extradite to Colombia an Israeli national accused by Bogota of conspiracy to commit terrorism, the defendant’s lawyer said. The Strasbourg court “has prohibited Russia from extraditing Yair Klein to Colombia pending the court’s further instructions”, Dmitry Yampolsky said.

Russia’s Supreme Court ruled as lawful last week the extradition of Klein, a former colonel in the Israeli army, who was sentenced by Colombian judicial authorities in 2001 to nearly 11 years in prison for training members of drug barons’ private armies and paramilitary groups.

The court rejected an appeal by Klein’s defence, which said the defendant was being persecuted for political motives and that the five-year time limit for the sentence to be enforced had expired. Klein has said he may face torture in Colombia.

Diego Tobon, the Colombian ambassador to Russia, said Wednesday, that Colombia would guarantee that Klein would be treated in accordance with international humanitarian laws, adding that “any court will see that we have complied with all the strictest requirements of international humanitarian laws”.

Klein, who ran a private security company called Spearhead Ltd, was captured by Interpol in Moscow last August on an international arrest warrant on charges of criminal conspiracy. Colombia’s government requested his extradition.

Klein denied in an interview ever working with cocaine cartels, but confirmed that he did instruct far-right death squads. He said he was originally hired by the Colombian Defence Ministry to organise security for the banana industry in the northern region of Uraba.

Israeli media earlier reported that Klein spent 16 months in a Sierra Leon prison between 1999 and 2000 for smuggling arms to rebels from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
RIA Novosti

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