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MOSCOW, June 14. /TASS/. Moscow is determined to have back home Russian nationals Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, both serving long prison terms in the United States, Foreign Ministry ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov told Tass on Tuesday.
Russia’s position on the US verdicts to Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko remains unchanged - "the sentences were politicized, biased, and in many respects fabricated and orchestrated," said the ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and rule of law.
"We are firmly aimed at restoration of rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of these citizens of the Russian Federation, and their return home," Dolgov said. "We will keep rendering necessary assistance to the defense team of the Russian nationals, who are working in an optimal way with US judicial authorities within the framework of that country’s legislation," he added.
"We repeatedly raise the issue of Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko in contacts with the American authorities, including at a high level," the diplomat said, noting however, that the US stance remained unconstructive. "Politicization of these purely humanitarian issues is way over the limit in Washington," Dolgov regretted.
"By the way, US President Barack Obama has pardoned a record number of inmates. Last time it happened quite recently - 42 people, including criminals sentenced to life imprisonment," he went on. "The absence of humanity from the American side towards Bout and Yaroshenko, convicted for the crimes they did not commit, is manifested particularly vividly against this background," he said.
Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was detained by the Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in Liberia on June 2, 2010. He was charged with conspiracy for airlifting a batch of cocaine to Latin America, part of which was addressed to the United States.
US investigators claimed that Yaroshenko had been involved in transporting cocaine to South America, Africa and Europe mostly from Liberia and Venezuela. Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison on September 7, 2011.
Viktor Bout was detained in Bangkok, Thailand, on the basis of an arrest warrant a Thai court issued at the request of the United States. He was charged with illegal arms supplies to a paramilitary group called Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, listed as terrorist in the United States. In 2010 Bout was extradited to the United States. In April 2012 he was sentenced to 25 years in jail and a fine of $15 million.