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Yaroshenko’s lawyers likely to again appeal to New York court

April 21, 6:20 UTC+3 NEW YORK
Earlier New York Court of Appeals refused to review his case and in the next three months to challenge the motion at the U.S. Supreme Court
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Konstantin Yaroshenko

Konstantin Yaroshenko

© ITAR-TASS

NEW YORK, April 21. /TASS/. Lawyers of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko jailed in the United States may file a new lawsuit in the coming two weeks to the New York Court of Appeals that refused to review his case and in the next three months to challenge the motion at the U.S. Supreme Court, Yaroshenko’s lawyer Alexey Tarasov told TASS on Wednesday.

Tarasov is planning to dispute the ruling of New York’s Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

"We may move for reconsidering this decision by the same panel of judges at the same court," the lawyer said. "The Second Circuit has 20 judges and a relevant request could be filed two weeks afterwards this decision. But the request will be highly possible left unsatisfied."

"Most probably, we will apply to the U.S. Supreme Court and file a complaint," Tarasov said. "We have 90 days at our disposal to file it and then two or three months for an answer if the Supreme Court takes the case."

However, the Supreme Court reviews a meager percentage of submitted cases and even if a lawyer files in the documents, the possibility stands at 5%.

"There is a third opportunity for the defense," he went on to say. "If the case is turned down by the Supreme Court, we will plead for total innocence. This may be requested through a U.S. Circuit Court."

The lawyer was not very optimistic here as well. The final decision to the issue will be taken after his meeting with Yaroshenko due in the coming few days.

The Court of Appeals refers to 130-year-old precedent

On Tuesday, New York’s Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the Russian’s arguments sent in June 2015. The document says the court confirms the district court’s decision.

The Russian pilot’s lawyers in particular referred to a precedent in 1974. Then an appeals court, while considering the case "The United States v. Toscanino", ruled to reverse the verdict against the defendant because he had been arrested in the territory of another state in violation of the law and subjected to torture. The court said at the time that the arrest might harm U.S. interests and put U.S. citizens’ lives at risk.

Yaroshenko’s case was similar to that one. In the meantime, the court rejected the argument citing a precedent of the year 1886, or the Ker v Illinois case.

"It says that the court should turn a blind eye to how the plaintiff happened to appear in front of it," Tarasov said.

"The problem is that 130 years ago the international law was not as sophisticated as nowadays and its comprehension was rather limited," the lawyer said. "Besides, 20 years had passed after the guarantee that an individual could not be deprived of freedom or life without a proper trial was included in the American Constitution."

The Court of Appeals failed to heed arguments substantiated with evidence that Yaroshenko had been tortured and that officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the US Department of Justice detained him in violation of all existing norms.

Russia’s appeal was ignored

In the Wednesday ruling of the Court of Appeals the words ‘Russia’ or ‘Russian’ were not mentioned in spite of the lawyers’ arguments that Yaroshenko’s case had an extremely negative impact on the relations between Washington and Moscow.

Besides, the document says nothing about a motion sent to the court in a form called in the United States "amicus curiae brief." The motion underlined Russia’s concern over Yaroshenko’s fate and drew attention to the facts that the United States was conducting the investigation against the Russian pilot with numerous violations of the international law.

The court failed to take into consideration that a considerable amount of evidence had been illegally collected in Ukraine. The defense’s argument cited the documents of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, saying that "the country’s competent bodies have never given permission to U.S. special agents for an operation in Kiev."

"The court says that Yaroshenko has no right to complain that the evidence had been gathered illegally as the damage was inflicted to Ukraine but not to Yaroshenko," Tarasov said.

Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was sentenced to twenty years in prison on 7 September 2011 in the United States. He was brought there from Liberia, where he was detained on May 28, 2010. Undercover officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the US Department of Justice suspected him of alleged criminal intentions to smuggle a large shipment of cocaine. The Russian is serving his sentence at the Fort Dix prison in the state of New Jersey.

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