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Reports about Konstantin Yaroshenko’s signing consent to be extradited to Russia from the US go in line with Moscow’s activity to return the Russian pilot to his homeland, Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law told Tass on Tuesday.
"This information that we have received from the lawyer fits within the activity we are continuing to ensure an early return of Konstantin Yaroshenko to his homeland," Konstantin Dolgov said. "As we understand, he is ready to be transferred under the Council of Europe’s 1983 (Strasbourg) Convention (on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons). This is exactly the option we have been working on and suggesting to the American side for a long time," he said.
"We continue work and support efforts of our citizen’s lawyers to have him back home as soon as possible," the diplomat said. "All the more as the situation with the Russian national is rather acute and is of humanitarian nature," Dolgov said, explaining that Russia remained concerned about his health and inadequate medical help from the US.
Yaroshenko himself told the Izvestia daily on Tuesday that on September 12 a US prison official gave him a document with the following question: "Would you like to be transferred under the Strasbourg Convention?" The pilot said that according to the guidelines he alone had to make such a request, but he signed the document the next day anyway.
The pilot said that earlier requests that he had personally sent to the relevant authorities in the US were left unanswered. Yaroshenko’s lawyer Alexei Tarasov has confirmed the fact to Tass.
"Earlier in September, Konstantin Yaroshenko was in fact asked to sign consent to return to the Russian Federation, which he did," Tarasov told TASS on Tuesday. "We are talking about a standard form in prisons. In accordance with it, the prisoner provides his agreement to transfer," the lawyer said, adding that Yaroshenko was always ready to return to Russia.
Russian pilot Yaroshenko was arrested in 2010 in Liberia and then brought to the United States. He was sentenced in 2011 to 20 years in prison in the US for allegedly intending to smuggle cocaine. The Russian is serving his sentence in the Fort Dix prison in the state of New Jersey.