|Yair Klein, free to visit Colombia.|
Klein was convicted in Manizales in 2001 for collaborating with paramilitary groups, which have committed some of the worst atrocities against civilians in Colombia's long conflict.
The killings committed by paramilitary groups trained by Klein include the 1989 Massacre of La Rochela and the 1997 Massacre of El Aro, in which 15 people were killed. In 2002, a Colombian court convicted Klein in absentia to ten years and eight months of prison.
Klein was arrested in Russia, pending a Colombian extradition request. However, a European human rights court ruled, ironically, that Klein's rights would be in danger if brought to trial in Colombia.
But the Klein case is about far more than one man's impunity. Klein claims that Colombian government officials invited him to come train paramilitaries, and that is believable. Colombian police and military collaborated in many paramilitary massacres, and even ex-Pres. Alvaro Uribe has been accused of collaborating in the El Aro massacre back when he was governor of Antioquia Province.
Most of Colombia's paramilitary organizations demobilized in the mid-2000s and some of their leaders are now in United States prisons. However, many of those involved in paramilitary atrocities have never been punished.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours