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Family of jailed Russian pilot vows to fight on for his release

May 10, 16:10 UTC+3 ROSTOV-ON-DON

Yaroshenko’s mother died of a heart attack on May 7

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Konstantin Yaroshenko

Konstantin Yaroshenko

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

ROSTOV-ON-DON, May 10. /TASS/. The family of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko who has been in the US jail for about six years now will continue fighting for his release after his mother’s death, Yaroshenko’s wife Viktoria told TASS on Wednesday.

Yaroshenko’s mother died of a heart attack at a Rostov-on-Don hospital on May 7. The pilot was informed about her death over the phone.

"All our possibilities, including through the judicial panel, have been used up. One hope is for the Russian government and I hope that it [the government of Russia] won’t leave us in trouble," Viktoria said, noting that she would continue sending petitions to the competent bodies of Russia and the United States.

According to Yaroshenko’s wife, "Konstantin received the news about his mother’s death with great pain." Viktoria broke him the news over the phone.

Russian pilot Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in jail in the United States on September 7, 2011. He had been brought to the United States from Liberia after being arrested on May 28, 2010. Agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration operating in disguise allegedly exposed his criminal intentions to transport a large batch of cocaine.

Yaroshenko underwent a surgery last year, but proper post-operation treatment was denied to him.

Russia has numerously requested the United States to release Yaroshenko.

Letters to Obama and Trump

Yaroshenko’s mother had continuously struggled for her son’s release since he was jailed in the United States. The jailed pilot’s mother sold three apartments in Rostov-on-Don in south Russia to hire four attorneys. She sent two letters to former US President Barack Obama with a request to pardon her son. She also requested the former US leader to show mercy but got no answer.

"When Donald Trump became the US president, Lyubov Mikhailovna wrote him a letter in late February, a month after his inauguration," Viktoria Yaroshenko told TASS. "However, she got no answer."

Yaroshenko’s mother earlier said in an interview with TASS that the text of her appeal had been approved by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"I’m sincerely glad about your uneasy victory at the elections and, relying on my life experience, I’m trying to see new possibilities in it for Konstantin’s quickest return to his home country," the appeal by Yaroshenko’s mother said.

"I’m standing before you on my knees and requesting you to show mercy and save my son’s life," the appeal said.

Lyubov Yaroshenko told TASS in the autumn of 2016 when she was 75 that last time she had seen her son was in January 2012.

Yaroshenko’s mother hoped that the document signed by her son on his consent to his transfer to Russia to serve his sentence there would be the chance for her son to come back to his home country. However, she never saw him released from prison after visiting him in the US jail in 2012.

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