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American actions re jailed Russian pilot disrespectful, inhuman — Foreign Ministry

March 19, 2014, 20:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko has been sentenced to a long prison term in the United States
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Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko

Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko

© ITAR-TASS Archive

MOSCOW, March 19. /ITAR-TASS/. The American authorities’ treatment of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who has been sentenced to a long prison term in the United States, can only be regarded as “disrespectful and inhuman”, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said on Wednesday, March 19.

“It was only under the strong pressure from Russia that the prison administration authorized in February the medical examination of our compatriot by their staff doctors but categorically refused to allow qualified medics from Moscow to examine him and hold a joint council in order to prescribe the necessary course of treatment,” Dolgov said.

“In reply to our request to give us the results of the examination and the patient record, we heard excuses that this could not be done without Yaroshenko’s written consent, which they did not have. When it turned out that he had signed such consent, the Consulate General of Russia in New York was told that it would take three weeks to consider the request but no guarantee and that the ‘service’ itself was provided for a fee,” Dolgov said.

“Now, as we have learnt from his lawyer, the prison authorities have denied Yaroshenko the surgery recommended to him by the American doctors,” he added.

“It’s hard to get rid of the impression that the American side is intentionally creating obstacles for obtaining objective information about Yaroshenko’s condition which continues to deteriorate,” he said. “Although this issue has been repeatedly raised by the Russian minister of foreign affairs at meetings and in telephone conversations with the US secretary of state, the situation is not improving. While demanding that others abide by the principles of humanism, Washington cynically plays with the fate of the person who has fallen victim to politicized justice, American style,” the diplomat said.

“In reply to our numerous appeals to the American authorities, demanding assistance in organizing an urgent visit to Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko at Fort Dix Prison by a delegation made up of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, senior diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Washington and the Consulate General in New York, as well as Russian doctors for the proper and full medical examination of our citizen, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on February 26 received a note from the US Embassy in Moscow, which specified virtually unenforceable terms of such a visit,” Dolgov said earlier.

“Specifically, the American authorities conditioned the issue of the permission to Russian doctors to examine Yaroshenko on having a medical license of the state in which the prison is located [New Jersey in this case]. This essentially rules out the very possibility of carrying out such a humanitarian mission,” Dolgov said.

“Moscow is deeply disappointed by and does not understand such an unconstructive position at a time when the health of the Russian citizen remains a matter of serious concern,” he said. “We reiterate with all responsibility that all the blame for possible negative consequences for Yaroshenko’s life and health will rest with the US authorities.”

“We insist that the legitimate rights and interests of the Russian citizen be ensured by the American authorities in full in accordance with their international obligations. We will continue to press for this in the most active manner, employing available legal and diplomatic mechanisms in order to bring Yaroshenko back home safe and sound as soon as possible,” Dolgov said.

Yaroshenko recently had a severe bout of an infection and viral disease, during which he felt a sharp pain in the heart, which has been recurring over and over again since then. His requests for medical help were ignored by the prison administration.


No medical aid for Russian pilot in US jail

Russian Consul General Igor Golubovsky said after visiting Yaroshenko in late February that the prison administration did not take the pilot’s condition seriously. “We will press for providing him with better conditions,” the diplomat added.

Golubovsky noted that Yaroshenko is “in very grave moral and psychological condition after the US authorities refused to extradite him to Russia.”

During the visit, the prison administration refrained from contact with the diplomats, Yaroshenko’s lawyer Alexei Tarasov said.

He said, however, that the meeting with the diplomats had fortified Yaroshenko’s spirits and encouraged him. “Konstantin, who fell victim to a provocation of American security services, counts very much on help from Russia,” Tarasov told ITAR-TASS. “This was the first meeting between Russian diplomats and Yaroshenko after a sharp deterioration of his health. His symptoms suggest that he is suffering from preinfarction angina. The prison administration constantly denied him urgent medical help. The situation started to change after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had put pressure on the Americans. The Russian citizen was examined at the prison infirmary and he took an electrocardiogram test. However the results of the examination have not been disclosed to any of us (either to Yaroshenko or to his layer or to the diplomats),” the lawyer said.

“The condition of Russian citizen Yaroshenko, who was unfairly sentenced in the United States to a long prison term, remains a matter of serious concern,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said earlier.

“The joint efforts of Russian diplomats and American lawyer Alexei Tarasov, who confirmed after a meeting with our compatriot in prison that he [Yaroshenko] needed urgent medical attention, helped secure the American authorities’ consent to an urgent medical examination,” Dolgov said.

Yaroshenko has been suffering from heart problems over the past two weeks and trying unsuccessfully to get medical attention.

“Konstantin Yaroshenko has burning pains in the heart, his blood pressure is way up and he is running a fever. These are clear signs of pre-infarction angina, as a minimum,” Tarasov said.

Two weeks ago, 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 US 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 US 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 US 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 US.

Foreign Ministry Commissioner 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 US Secretary of State John Kerry, passes without our raising the question of Bout and Yaroshenko,” Lavrov said.

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