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| 11/23/2010 12:00:00 AM

Russia 'frees Israeli mercenary'

November 23--Russia has released Israeli mercenary Yair Klein, who was sought by Colombia for his involvement in the training of paramilitary squads, reports say.

Klein, a former Israeli army soldier, is on his way to Israel, Interfax news agency reports.

In 2001, a Colombian court convicted him in absentia of training right-wing guerrilla groups.

Russia arrested him in 2007 under an Interpol warrant and later agreed to extradite him to Colombia.

But the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) forbid the extradition, on grounds that he might face mistreatment in Colombia.

'Drug lords'

Israel's Channel 10 television showed Klein on Friday leaving a Moscow jail where he was being held.

"Klein has been freed and he is currently en route to Israel," Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed security source as saying.

Klein was sentenced in absentia in 2001 to 10 years and eight months in prison in Colombia for assisting and training drug lords and guerrilla groups in the 1980s and 1990s.
 
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