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Lawyer: Doctors examine Konstantin Yaroshenko at US Fort Dix prison

February 19, 2014, 5:29 UTC+3 NEW YORK
Three specialists have been invited to Fort Dix for the consultations. The institution has two doctors, and the other doctors have been invited to assist them
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© Itar-Tass

NEW YORK, February 19, (ITAR-TASS) - Russia’s pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who serves a 20-year term in Fort Dix correctional institution /New Jersey/, has been examined by American doctors, the pilot’s lawyer Alexei Tarasov told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

He said it was the second examination on that day.

“In the morning they made an ECG, and in several hours doctors examined him,” the lawyer said.

“This special attention to Konstantin Yaroshenko may be explained only by Russia’s active participation in him,” Tarasov said. “Three specialists have been invited to Fort Dix for the consultations. The institution has two doctors, and the other doctors have been invited to assist them. However, there is no information on the results.”

The lawyer was supposed to learn results of the tests from the institution’s administration. Meanwhile, the lawyer said, the attitudes from jailers to the Russian man had become worse. “Konstantin told me on the phone they glowered at him.”

Several days earlier, the prison administration denied urgent medical aid to Yaroshenko, 45. His cell block superintendant said Yaroshenko had not told him of any deterioration of his health. When told that the Russian pilot simply could not get up from his cot, the official said if he had managed to call the lawyer, he therefore could go and tell him about his health problems.

In September 2011, a U.S court sentenced Yaroshenko to 20 years in prison for having been allegedly involved in a criminal ring organised for smuggling a large shipment of cocaine. He was detained by the U.S. authorities in Liberia and then taken to the United States. Moscow believes that these charges are doubtful.

Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) chief Viktor Ivanov said that his Service had asked the U.S. to provide additional information on the case as only “a brief memo” was given to the Russian drug police, notifying them that Yaroshenko was suspected of drug trafficking in the U.S.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said the New York court of appeals’ refusal to review the guilty verdict to Yaroshenko, was “inhuman, illogical and unacceptable”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry constantly monitors the situation concerning Yaroshenko and another Russian citizen Viktor Bout who has also been sentenced to a long prison term in the U.S.

“Not a meeting with our American colleagues at any level, including my regular contacts with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, passes without our raising the question of Bout and Yaroshenko,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier.

He believes that their cases have been artificially politicised. “Nevertheless, lawyers are working. Naturally, we rely on the wishes of Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko themselves. The latter said he would not appeal further to higher-tier instances and asked for a return to Russia under the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons to serve his term at home,” the minister said, adding that both Russia and the U.S. were parties to the Convention.

“This mechanism can be used only when all stages of the appealing processes have been passed. Konstantin Yaroshenko has refused to appeal further and therefore he falls under this Convention. Viktor Bout has not made such a decision yet with his lawyers and this has to be decided by him and his family with whom we stay in touch,” Lavrov said.

He said Russian consulate officials regularly visited Bout and Yaroshenko in U.S. prisons. “There were complaints about the conditions of their imprisonment from the very beginning: Viktor Bout was put in the prison where dangerous special criminals are held. We are pressing - and the first results have already been achieved - for providing them with better conditions,” the minister said.

“We will keep working on this,” he noted.

“As for Konstantin Yaroshenko, he was basically snatched out of Liberia by deception and, just like Viktor Bout, taken to the U.S.,” Lavrov said.

He admitted that “they [American authorities] have so far failed to listen to our appeals to adhere to legal obligations. Many of our citizens have found themselves in similar situations, but Bout and Yaroshenko are the best known examples. They were sentenced to 25 years and life term for an intention to do something, and these intentions were beaten out of them by deception. As many American experts say, the verdicts are based on rather doubtful evidence.”

Bout, found guilty in November 2010 of arms smuggling conspiracy, has been sentenced by a New York court to 25 years in prison.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has advised Russians who may have problems with the American law to refrain from travelling to countries that have extradition agreements with the United States.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia advises Russian citizens to refrain from foreign trips, especially to the countries that have signed extradition agreements with the United States and if there are suspicions that American law enforcement agencies may take legal action against them,” the ministry said.

“Russian citizens have been detained more and more often lately in different countries at the request of American law enforcement agencies for their further extradition and judicial prosecution in the United States. The latest such examples include the arrests of Dmitry Ustinov in Lithuania, Dmitry Belorossov in Spain, Maxim Chukharev in Costa Rica, and Alexander Panin in the Dominican Republic,” the ministry said.

“Experience shows that the trials of those who were basically abducted and taken to the U.S. are biased, based on shaky evidence and conspicuously accusatory. As a rule, they result in illegitimate verdicts with long prison terms as in the case of Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who were sentenced to 25 and 20 years in prison, respectively,” the ministry said.

“Russian consulate and consulates general provide consular and legal assistance to Russian citizens in difficult situations, but one cannot count on their successful resolution,” the ministry said.

More than 120 countries have extradition agreements with the United States, including all of the EU and Latin American countries, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

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