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Israeli mercenary lawyer appeals against extradition to Colombia

RIA Novosti

21/03/2008 18:27 MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - The lawyer of an Israeli mercenary wanted by Colombian authorities for allegedly training guerrillas has appealed against a Moscow court decision to extradite him to Colombia.

The appeal against the court's decision has been sent to the Russian Supreme Court. "In the appeal, the defense is asking to overrule the Moscow City Court's decision," the court's spokesperson said on Friday.

Earlier this month the Moscow City Court approved a decision by the Russian prosecutor general's office to extradite Yair Klein to Colombia.

Klein, a former Israeli army officer, was convicted in 2001 in absentia and sentenced to 10 years in prison for training far-right paramilitary groups in the South American country. He was also accused of working as a mercenary for Pablo Escobar's Medellin drug cartel in the 1980s.

The Israeli mercenary was detained after a tip-off from Interpol at a Moscow airport as he was about to fly to Israel last August. Russia's Interior Ministry said Klein changed his passport data to get through passport control in many countries without difficulty.

The Colombian government, which had made unsuccessful attempts to obtain his extradition from Israel, asked Russian authorities to detain and extradite Klein.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had met her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov two months prior to his arrest and asked him to hand Klein over to Israel.

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