TEL AVIV (Sep. 25)
The Israeli soldier of fortune implicated in training Colombian death squads is to travel to the United States next week to testify before a Senate subcommittee investigating the Colombian drug cartels.
IDF reserve Lt. Col. Yair Klein, president of the Hod Hahanit (Spearhead) security consulting firm, has confirmed that he will make the trip to Washington, He said Sunday he was not afraid of testifying, despite reports that Colombia is seeking an international warrant for his arrest and extradition.
“I will tell the Senate subcommittee exactly what I told police — that I trained farmers to defend themselves against guerrilla attacks. The Colombian police and army admit that I did nothing wrong,” he asserted.
The Department of Administrative Security in Bogota has said that Klein was charged there with criminal conspiracy and is being sought for extradition along with another Israeli. Arik Acek, an associate of Klein’s.
Klein was first named in connection with the bloody Colombian drug war last month, when he appeared in a film broadcast by NBC News that purportedly showed him training Colombian marksmen involved in the drug cartels.
The trainers in the film spoke in Hebrew, and one of the marksmen interviewed said the Israeli trainers were excellent.
Police here have been investigating Klein and other Israelis for having engaged in business in Colombia without obtaining the requisite licenses from the Defense Ministry for exporting defense techniques and training.
Klein’s passport. which was confiscated, was returned to him. He is presently free on $ 15,000 bail.
If Colombia obtains an international arrest warrant against him from Interpol, such a warrant is not enforceable in Israel, which has no extradition agreement with Colombia.
Klein said he had sufficient trust in the United states to risk the possibility that Colombia would seek to extradite him while he was there.