MOSCOW, September 27. /TASS/. The Kremlin is aware that Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving his lengthy jail term in the US, has signed a document for his transfer to Russia but his fate has not been discussed between the Russian and US leaders, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
"No, they did not discuss this," Peskov said answering a question if Yaroshenko’s fate was mentioned at the latest meeting of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. "Indeed, we also know that this document was signed."
Peskov also stressed that it is up to the US authorities to decide. "We have repeatedly said that many our citizens are illegally jailed in the US from our point of view."
Yaroshenko told the Izvestia daily earlier 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.