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Jailed pilot’s mother vows to burn herself alive in front of US embassy if son not freed

November 08, 2016, 15:17 UTC+3 ROSTOV-ON-DON
The mother of Konstantin Yaroshenko hopes that Obama, as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, will pardon and free her son
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Lyubov Yaroshenko

Lyubov Yaroshenko

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

ROSTOV-ON-DON, November 8. /TASS/. US President Barack Obama has not responded to the requests to pardon Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko who has been imprisoned in the US for over six years, the pilot’s mother Lyubov Yaroshenko said in an interview with TASS.

She also said that she was ready to take a desperate step and set herself on fire in front of the US embassy in Moscow, if her son did not get pardoned.

"I will fight for my son till my last breath," Lyubov Yaroshenko stressed. "I have written to (US Secretary of State) John Kerry saying that I am 75 years old and I don’t fear anything. I will light myself ablaze in front of the US embassy. These are not just words, I am ready to do it," Lyubov Yaroshenko asserted.

The Russian pilot’s family has lost almost all their property having sold it in order to hire the US lawyers. "We took out loans to hire attorneys for Kosyta, and then, to repay the loans, we had to sell a car and three apartments. We sold the apartment where my husband and I lived, where our children Kostya and his sister Olya grew up as well as our grandchildren," Lyubov Yaroshenko said. "Olga sold her apartment, too, as did Kostya’s sister-in-law who moved to her father’s. She died in a road accident two years ago."

In mid-October Lyubov Yaroshenko forwarded two letters to Obama requesting the US leader show mercy on her son and send him back to Russia. One letter was sent by a delivery service while the other via e-mail. Both letters were delivered but no response has been received yet.

"I had a crazy idea that Obama, as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, could pardon and free an innocent man before stepping down from his post. I pray for my son to be saved and return home soon, I ask God to set Obama straight," Lyubov Yaroshenko stated.

Russian civilian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, arrested in Liberia in May 2010, was later secretly transferred to the US. In April 2011, a jury found him guilty of alleged conspiracy to smuggle a major drug shipment into the US, and sentenced him to 20 years behind bars. However, Yaroshenko pleaded not guilty, he believes his arrest was a set-up and the case was fabricated.

On October 14, the Russian Justice Ministry prepared a request for Yaroshenko’s transfer to Russia.

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