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Russian diplomats visit pilot Yaroshenko in US prison

Yaroshenko was suffering from preinfarction angina and looked very unhealthy

NEW YORK, February 21, 3:21 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian diplomats visited pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a long term in a U.S. prison for alleged drug smuggling.

Diplomats from the Russian Consulate General in New York said that Yaroshenko was suffering from preinfarction angina and looked very unhealthy. They assured him that they would exert maximum effort to improve his condition in the prison and provide him with proper medical care.

“It’s good that we could meet with him after three written requests to the authorities. We talked for two hours and we had no time limitations,” Russian Consul General Igor Golubovsky said.

Yaroshenko recently had a severe bout of an infection and viral disease, during which he felt a sharp pain in the heart, which has been recurring over and over again since then. His requests for medical help were ignored by the prison administration.

“Konstantin Yaroshenko has not been provided with comprehensive medical care so far. He only had partial examination, but its results were not made available to the Russian citizen. He was only told that his condition did not worry the prison doctors,” the consul said.

He believes that the prison administration does not take Yaroshenko’s condition seriously. “We will press for providing him with better conditions,” the diplomat added. 

Golubovsky noted that Yaroshenko is “in very grave moral and psychological condition after the U.S. authorities refused to extradite him to Russia.”

During the visit, the prison administration refrained from contact with the diplomats, Yaroshenko’s lawyer Alexei Tarasov said.

He said, however, that the meeting with the diplomats had fortified Yaroshenko’s spirits and encouraged him.

Yaroshenko is in bad condition

Yaroshenko has been suffering from heart problems over the past two weeks and trying unsuccessfully to get medical attention.

“As the American practice requires, he has repeatedly reported his health problems to the prison administration, unsuccessfully trying to get their permission for urgent medical aid,” Tarasov told ITAR-TASS.

He learnt from Yaroshenko’s relatives that “the assertions by the administration of the Fort Dix prison [in New Jersey where the pilot is serving his term] that the Russian inmate was allegedly ignoring the rules failing to report his health problems are wrong”. This was confirmed to him by Yaroshenko’s mother and wife.

“Konstantin Yaroshenko has burning pains in the heart, his blood pressure is way up and he is running a fever. These are clear signs of pre-infarction angina, as a minimum,” Tarasov said.

Last week, the prison administration denied urgent medical aid to Yaroshenko. His cell block superintendant said Yaroshenko had not told him of any deterioration of his health. When told that the Russian pilot simply could not get up from his cot, the official said if he had managed to call the lawyer, he therefore could go and tell him about his health problems.

Yaroshenko case

In September 2011, a U.S court sentenced Yaroshenko to 20 years in prison for having been allegedly involved in a criminal ring organised for smuggling a large shipment of cocaine. He was detained by the U.S. authorities in Liberia and then taken to the United States. Moscow believes that these charges are doubtful.

Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) chief Viktor Ivanov said that his Service had asked the U.S. to provide additional information on the case as only “a brief memo” was given to the Russian drug police, notifying them that Yaroshenko was suspected of drug trafficking in the U.S.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said the New York court of appeals’ refusal to review the guilty verdict to Yaroshenko, was “inhuman, illogical and unacceptable”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry constantly monitors the situation concerning Yaroshenko and another Russian citizen Viktor Bout who has also been sentenced to a long prison term in the U.S.