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Trump sees no grounds to pardon jailed Russian pilot — Russian human rights chief

April 02, 2018, 15:25 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko who is serving his 20-year prison term in the US jail

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© AP Photo/Evan Vucci

MOSCOW, April 2. /TASS/. Russian human rights ombudswoman Tatiana Moskalkova told TASS on Monday the United States authorities have turned down her appeal to pardon Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko who is serving his 20-year prison term in the US jail.

"I have received a response to my appeal to US President Donald Trump asking to pardon Konstantin Yaroshenko. The letter, signed by the Secretary of State and written at Trump’s instruction, says that they see no grounds for pardoning and consider the sentence legal and well-grounded," she said, adding that the response to her appeal had been received by the Russian Foreign Ministry last week.

"Since the United States has no human rights ombudsman, contacts are maintained via the Foreign Ministry," she noted.

Konstantin Yaroshenko was convicted in the United States in September 2011 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The pilot was brought to the United States from Liberia, where he had been 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.

He is serving the prison term at the Fort Dix federal prison, New Jersey.

Russia has repeatedly requested the United States to extradite Yaroshenko.

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