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Lawyer says chances of pilot Yaroshenko extradition to Russia higher than in 2013

October 12, 8:43 UTC+3 NEW YORK
Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Justice prepared a request to the American side
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© EPA/Johannes Schmitt-Tegge, archive

NEW YORK, October 12. /TASS/. The chances that the US authorities will satisfy the request of the Russian Ministry of Justice to transfer Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko to his home country are higher this time than in 2013, the Russian national’s lawyer, Alexei Tarasov, has told TASS.

Earlier, it became known that the Russian Ministry of Justice had already prepared a request to the American side for Yaroshenko’s extradition to serve his sentence in Russia on the basis of the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. It usually takes the US several months to consider such requests. Such a query was last sent in 2013, but the US Department of Justice did not satisfy it.

"Queries can be made at two years’ intervals, so this deadline has approached," Tarasov said. "This time the chances are higher than last time. They are enhanced primarily by the fact that Konstantin has remained in custody for more than six years now. That’s practically one-third of his sentence. Moreover, new details have surfaced, among them, violations during his arrest and torture during the interrogation."

"These are the factors that were unknown during the previous consideration of the inquiry," the lawyer noted. "In addition to that, the importance of this case in relations between Russia and the US is evident. We talked about this in the course of appealing the decision on refusal to review the verdict in light of the newly-discovered circumstances. To date, the Yaroshenko case has repeatedly been discussed by the Russian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State."

"The case is very important, it is unconventional, some non-standard solutions are possible. Although the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons was used only once in regard to a Russian citizen, I believe Konstantin Yaroshenko’s case is so unique that such a transfer may indeed be possible," the lawyer said.

He explained that Washington transferred a Russian citizen to Moscow under this convention only once. That was former Chairman of the UN General Assembly’s Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions Vladimir Kuznetsov. A US court found him guilty of an alleged conspiracy in money laundering and sentenced him to four years in prison. In 2008, Kuznetsov was transferred to the Russian side.

Russian civilian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in May 2010 and was later secretly transferred to the US. In April 2011, a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to smuggle a major drug shipment into the US and sentenced him to 20 years behind bars. However, Yaroshenko pleaded not guilty, he considers his arrest a provocation and the case trumped up. The Russian citizen is currently serving his sentence at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

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