Switzerland's top court ruled on Thursday to release Vitaly Kaloyev, 51, sentenced to eight years in prison by a Swiss court in 2005 for the murder of Peter Nielsen, a SkyGuide employee.
In the early hours of July 2, 2002, a Russian passenger plane collided with a DHL cargo aircraft over southern Germany, killing 71 people, including 45 children. Kaloyev's wife and two children died in the crash.
Peter Nielsen was the only air traffic controller on duty at the time of the accident, and Kaloyev held him personally responsible for the tragedy. He subsequently travelled to Switzerland, where he stabbed the air traffic controller to death in February 2004.
Earlier this year, Kaloyev's sentence was cut to five years and three months. He was released by Swiss authorities on Monday because he had served more than two-thirds of his sentence, and had earned a reduction for good behavior.
Two of the court's five judges dissented from the majority opinion, saying that the current sentence against Kaloyev was too light.
"He is now a free man and he will take a flight from Zurich to Moscow in the evening," the embassy's press attache said.
Kaloyev is already at the airport waiting for his flight, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported. He said reporters were unlikely to see the man as police would accompany him right to the plane. His plane was expected to land in Moscow on Tuesday at 1:50 a.m.