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Incarcerated Russian pilot faced abuse by US prison authorities for three months — wife

April 01, 15:32 UTC+3 ROSTOV-ON-DON

In a talk with his wife, Konstantin Yaroshenko also said he feared that the prison’s staff might plant drugs on him, for which he might get a life sentence

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Reproduction of a photo of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko from his mother's personal archive

Reproduction of a photo of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko from his mother's personal archive

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

ROSTOV-ON-DON, April 1. /TASS/. Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko who is serving his 20-year prison term in the US jail has been ill-treated by the prison’s new administrator for already three months, Yaroshenko’s wife told TASS on Sunday.

Yaroshenko has been mistreated in the US jail for three months but said about this only on Friday, the wife added.

The Russian diplomats in the United States demanded from the US prison’s administration on Saturday that his basic rights be ensured and expressed their concern that he was ill-treated. The Russian embassy also said it would continue to press for bringing Yaroshenko’s prison conditions into compliance with international standards.

"Konstantin called me over the phone and told me that he had been ill-treated by the new guard, i.e. he is not even the guard but the administrator," Yaroshenko’s wife said.

According to her, the administrator, in particular, constantly held unmotivated personal searches of Yaroshenko, without giving any explanations.

In a talk with his wife, Yaroshenko also said he feared that the prison’s staff might plant drugs on him, for which he might get a life sentence.

Yaroshenko’s lawyer Alexei Tarasov told TASS by phone that Yaroshenko fears that more charges can be fabricated against him against the background of worsening Russian-US relations. Recently, the prison administration questioned and searched him without giving any reasons or explanations.

"Such an episode has indeed taken place without any reason. Konstantin fears that something can be planted to incriminate him, or he may be accused of something he did not do," Tarasov said.

"Naturally, it all comes against the background of this complicated political situation in bilateral relations," the lawyer added.

He said the defense team and Russian diplomats closely follow the situation.

"Right now, he has not been accused of anything, there were no reports of him violating any rules," Tarasov said. "We follow and monitor this situation and maintain contact with Konstantin and his relatives."

Konstantin Yaroshenko was convicted in the US in September 2011 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The pilot was brought to the United States from Liberia, where he was arrested on May 28, 2010. Agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration operating under cover allegedly exposed Yaroshenko’s criminal intention to transport a large batch of cocaine.

He pleaded innocent, described his arrest as a set-up and said all charges against him were fabricated.

Russia has repeatedly requested the United States to extradite Yaroshenko.

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