Photo: AFP
Santos. 'Klein acted with a corrupt man's cynicism'
Photo: AFP
Not end of story? Klein
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

Colombian President: Klein engineer of terror

Juan Manuel Santos vows to continue efforts to renew extradition process of 'corrupt man'; criticizes EU judicial system

While Lieutenant-Colonel (Res) Yair Klein is getting used to life as a free man, the country in which he is considered a wanted man is continuing efforts to renew the extradition process. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón on Saturday responded with anger to the release of Klein from prison in Russia.


Colombian newspaper El Spectador reported that the president, who defined Klein as an 'engineer of terror', attacked him for remarks he allegedly made upon his release.


"After being released from prison he acted with a corrupt man's cynicism, a criminal's cynicism – when he chose to send me and my country his regards", Santos said after instructing the country's judicial authorities to continue working on Klein's extradition to Colombia.


Colombia's president once again criticized the European Union's judicial system which ruled against extraditing Klein to the South American country over fears for his life should he be extradited: "I want to stress that we live in a democracy which respects the law, which respects the legal process and the independence of the authorities. That is why the EU court's decision hurt me deeply."


Lieutenant-Colonel (Res) Yair Klein, who was freed from prison in Russia – where he was jailed for allegedly aiding a terror organization in Colombia – landed in Israel on Saturday, three years after his arrest.


However, news of his release was not received well in Colombia, where 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.


According to Colombian reports, Justice Minister Vargas Lleras on Saturday said the government will "not sit idle."


The minister noted that Colombian authorities were "examining different alternatives" in order to implement the extradition order.


"The international community, including Russia and Israel, need to ask themselves how such things are allowed to happen," he added.


Klein 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 arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport around midnight on Saturday, and was greeted by his friends, relatives and girlfriend – whom he has not seen since his arrest.



פרסום ראשון: 11.20.10, 11:50
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