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Jailed Russian pilot Yaroshenko gets better medical care in US prison

September 19, 2014, 5:52 UTC+3 NEW YORK

“Moscow’s increasing pressure has had an effect on the U.S. prison authorities,” his lawyer Alexei Tarasov said

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NEW YORK, September 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko serving a long prison term in the United States has been given better medical care after Moscow’s urgent calls and protests, his lawyer said on Thursday.

“Moscow’s increasing pressure has had an effect on the U.S. prison authorities,” Alexei Tarasov told ITAR-TASS.

He said, however, that better dental care had been provided only. “He had less than half of his teeth left but wardens ignored this fact. And urgent dental care was provided only after strong protests by Russian diplomats,” he said.

At the same time, the prison authorities are ignoring Yaroshenko’s other ailments and denying him examination by Russian doctors, the lawyer said.

“The wardens seem to be deaf to the appeals for medical care and treat him as a healthy but very annoying prisoner,” he said.

“They agreed to fix only those problems that are clearly visible during his meeting with Russian officials - his crumbling teeth. But his overall condition is alarming as he needs surgery due to problems with internal organs. It has been unsuccessfully requested for several years by the prisoner himself, his relatives and lawyers. Russia is insisting on it,” Tarasov said.

The lawyers collected new convincing evidence of Yaroshenko’s innocence and sent it to the New York court. “Several months have passed but there has been no reply. It seems that it gave the judges serious food for thought. God help them understand that they sentenced an innocent person. The defence will insist on the revision of the case, cancellation of the verdict and release of Yaroshenko,” the lawyer said.

Moscow has repeatedly urged the U.S. authorities to provide medical care to Yaroshenko and allow him to be examined by Russian doctors.

“Russia demands that Yaroshenko be provided with professional medical care and insists that he undergo an objective examination with the participation of Russian doctors,” Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said earlier.

“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,” he 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.

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.

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