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MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. The lawyers of Konstatin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot sentenced to prison in the US on drug smuggling charges, expect Barack Obama to pardon their client as his term as president draws to a close, attorney Alexey Tarasov told the national broadcaster "Rossiya 24".
"One of the reasons why it is possible, is that outgoing US presidents usually approve many petitions for a pardon," he said, adding that "another reason for this step to be taken is that the Obama administration stands for reducing penalties for drug crimes."
According to Tarasov, Yaroshenko’s transfer to Russia "would be a positive signal from the US aimed at improving bilateral relations with Russia."
As reported earlier, Russia’s Ministry of Justice prepared a letter concerning Yaroshenko’s transfer to be forwarded to the competent US authorities through diplomatic channels.
On September 7, 2011, Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. He was brought to the US from Liberia where he had been arrested on May 28, 2010. Some undercover US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents had claimed that he was involved in a cocaine smuggling conspiracy. The Russian citizen is currently serving out his sentence at Fort Dix in New Jersey.