MOSCOW, February 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia insists on a comprehensive medical examination of air pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year jail term in the United States on drug smuggling attempt charges, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said after talks with his Eritrean counterpart Osman Saleh Mohammed.
“When the state of Yaroshenko’s health had seriously aggravated, in reply to our multiple requests at the end of last week the prison authorities said prisoners received regular medical treatment, but only on workdays and we have to wait until Monday,” he said. “Today we have been promised that doctors will be allowed to see Yaroshenko. We insist that together with a prison doctor medics of Russian institutions in the United States should visit him and that a comprehensive medical examination, and not only an ultrasound scan, should be conducted.”
“We will demand consular access to Yaroshenko,” Lavrov added. “Now this necessity becomes urgent.”
“In fact, he was abducted from Liberia, invited for a conversation that was used against him,” the diplomat said. “Thus, he was sentenced to a long prison term not for his deed, but for his words taken out of the context that even the U.S. court qualified as an intention. Probably, nobody will ever consider this almost life sentence for this intention as justified and fair.”
“Since John Kerry was appointed U.S. Secretary of State the theme of Yaroshenko had topped the agenda of all our meetings,” he said. “At our last meeting a month ago I had the information that Yaroshenko’s health had been worsening. I drew Kerry’s attention to this problem. After repeated reminders the secretary of state telephoned me saying he had checked the situation and received no confirmation that problems with Yaroshenko’s health existed. Moreover, they said he had not even addressed for medical assistance.”
“All this is untrue,” Lavrov added. “We maintain regular contacts with his lawyer, Mr. Tarasov. Konstantin has repeatedly asked for medical assistance.”
“The situation with Yarsohenko is humanitarian, as saving a life depends on nobody, but the authorities of a country, where a person is serving a prison term,” he said. “I hope that together with demands to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in some country (Syria in this case), and this is a really important thing, the fate of a concrete person that directly depends on the government of the country, where he has been kept in prison will be not forgotten.”
On September 7, 2011 Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years. He had been brought to the United States from Liberia, where he was arrested on May 28, 2010. Agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency allegedly exposed his criminal intention to transport a large batch of narcotic drugs. It was the first-ever instance of US secret services abducting a Russian citizen in the territory of a third country and secretly taking him to the United States.