NEW YORK, July 09 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who has been sentenced to a long prison term in the United States, has been denied dental care, his lawyer Alexei Tarasov told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday, July 8.
“The existing practice in American prisons, when their inmates in need of specialised medical care are taken to the relevant specialists, does not apply to the Russian citizen,” he said. “As a result of cruel torture to which the pilot was subjected upon arrest and his diseases that have assumed chronic form, his teeth have started to crumble. He has less than 60% of his teeth left. He cannot chew and eat normally.”
The administration of Fort Dix prison where Yaroshenko is serving his term has completely ignored his requests for urgent dental care. The situation changed slightly in late June when Russian mass media published information on his condition.
“Konstantin Yaroshenko was recently ordered to report to the prison dentist who said that he would not attend to his teeth and could only extract them. It was made clear to the Russian inmate that he could not expect anything more than that. He has already had three of his teeth pulled out and two more will be extracted shortly. The pilot, who has fallen victim to a provocation of the American security services, will remain practically toothless,” Tarasov said.
The prison administration has also refused to allow Russian medics to examine Yaroshenko. “This is a very bad situation,” the lawyer added.
Moscow has repeatedly urged the U.S. authorities to provide medical care to Yaroshenko and allow him to be examined by Russian doctors.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, the Russian Embassy in Washington and the Consulate General in New York have been consistently pressing the U.S. authorities for providing adequate medical care to Yaroshenko who has several severe health problems. Despite the examination conducted by the prison doctors after repeated requests from Russia, our fellow citizen did not receive proper medical attention. Moreover, his health, ruined by the tortures and humiliating treatment during detention in Liberia by U.S. security service agents, is continuing to deteriorate,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said.
“Russia demands that Yaroshenko be provided with professional medical care and insists that he undergo an objective examination with the participation of Russian doctors,” he said. “According to his lawyer, Alexei Tarasov, the prison administration and the relevant American agencies have denied him that and ignored his requests for even basic, including dental, care.”
“We hope that the American side will show common sense and remedy the intolerable situation, taking into account its own promises given in particular by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and will investigate this case thoroughly,” Dolgov said.
In April, U.S. Minister-Counsellor Howard Solomon was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to hear a protest over the Yaroshenko situation. Dolgov, who presented the protest, stressed that “the conditions in the prison where our fellow citizen is held remain a matter of serious concern to us”.
“We have received Yaroshenko’s letter addressed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which indicates that the Russian citizen is not getting proper medical care in connection with the serious ailments he had acquired as a result of tortures during the arrest in Liberia and the treatment in American penitentiary institutions which does not correspond to international standards,” the protest said.
Dolgov said Yaroshenko had been denied surgery despite American doctors’ recommendations. “The prison administration denies [it] and does not let Russian doctors in. The unenforceable conditions they have come up with remain,” the diplomat said.
“The situation is extremely bad. We have raised this issue with the American authorities and highlighted it,” Dolgov said, adding that he would continue monitoring the situation.
The American authorities’ treatment of Yaroshenko can only be regarded as “disrespectful and inhuman”, Dolgov said.
“It was only under the strong pressure from Russia that the prison administration authorised in February the medical examination of our compatriot by their staff doctors but categorically refused to allow certified medics from Moscow to examine him and hold a joint council in order to prescribe the necessary course of treatment,” Dolgov said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry urged the American authorities to “stop the lawlessness against Yaroshenko” and expressed hope that “as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly promised to the foreign minister of Russia, necessary measures will be taken after all to rectify the situation”.
“We will continue to use all available political, diplomatic and legal methods, including the Convention of the Council of Europe of 1983 on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, in order to ensure the return home of the Russian citizen who has fallen victim to an act of outrage,” the ministry said.
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.