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State Duma angry about jail sentence Russian pilot gets in US

September 08, 2011, 12:40 UTC+3

Yaroshenko was arrested in the Liberian capital Monrovia in May 2010, after which he was secretly brought to the United States

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MOSCOW, September 8 (Itar-Tass) —— The State Duma is angry over the circumstances of the trial of Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko in the United States and feels depressed by "such a harsh a sentence."

"From the political point of view there should follow legal assessment of what has happened from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and I have no doubt that it will be extremely tough," the head of the Duma's international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev, told Itar-Tass.

He said that the Russian deputies were well aware of "how and with what legal violations" the trial of Yaroshenko proceeded, they repeatedly expressed their concerns to the U.S. Congress and "even in personal capacity" contacted U.S. judges. "The whole set of instruments was employed, but, unfortunately, all efforts were in vain," said the head of the committee.

Kosachev added that the Russian side had certain claims and objections in connection with the arrest of Yaroshenko.

"The very principle of the extraterritoriality of U.S. law – stipulating that any person may be arrested in any state – is contrary to international law. The circumstances of the detention of Konstantin Yaroshenko and his keeping in custody in inhuman conditions is also outrageous. This clear violation of rights by all American authorities," concluded Kosachev.

He vowed that Moscow would not leave Yaroshenko in trouble and "will continue to defend his rights."

The federal court in the southern district of New York on Wednesday pronounced a sentence for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, convicted of conspiracy to smuggle large quantities of drugs, part of which was intended to be sold in the United States. The presiding federal judge in the trial, Jed Rakoff sentenced Yaroshenko to 20-year imprisonment.

As the vice-consul of the Russian Federation in New York, Alexander Otchainov, told reporters at the end of the hearing Russia had not expected such a harsh decision from the American court.

Yaroshenko was arrested in the Liberian capital Monrovia in May 2010, after which he was secretly brought to the United States. He pleaded not guilty.

His lawyer, Stephen Zyss said he intended to appeal against the court’s decision and will cooperate with the Russian authorities in efforts to secure the return of his defendant home.

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