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Russia pilot convicted in the USA, hopes for his extradition to Russia

October 17, 2011, 11:21 UTC+3
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The family of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, found guilty of contraband of narcotics and sentenced to 20 years in prison in the USA, asked President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to help arrange his extradition to his homeland.

In his first interview in prison Yaroshenko stated to the "Izvestia" that the U.S. secret services had taken revenge upon him for his refusal to testify against Viktor Bout, who is now being tried in the USA for contraband of weapons. "They regularly made me testify against him and promised freedom in exchange and residence permit for the whole family," Yaroshenko stated. Some people visited me again recently, introduced themselves as lawyers and asked to help agents to understand the cargo transportation schemes within the Bout case. In exchange, they promised to indulge me in prison."

Yaroshenko claims he had never met with Bout and never flown his planes. "I saw Bout in prison once. He's kept here, too, but in another section."

"In 2009, in Guinea, I asked Irishman James Scott - the owner of Eagle Air, a local airline, to find a plane for my firm and a job. I carelessly mentioned Viktor Bout's name in our conversation," Yaroshenko said.

"I speak very bad English. He asked if I knew that Russian. I said I did, meaning that I had heard about him from news. From that moment, I came under surveillance."

When asked what he was going to do, Yaroshenko answered: "The only hope left is for the Russian authorities and extradition to Russia."

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