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US ambassador says jailed Russian pilot Yaroshenko gets proper care

Yaroshenko felt a sharp pain in the heart

MOSCOW, February 24. /ITAR-TASS/. U.S. Ambassador in Moscow Michael McFaul said Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a long term in a U.S. prison for alleged drug smuggling, is provided proper medical care.

“Yaroshenko gets proper medical care. In other words, the accusations are false. A doctor examined him on February 18,” he wrote on his Twitter page.

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,” Russian Consul General Igor Golubovsky said after visiting Yaroshenko last week.

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. “Konstantin, who fell victim to a provocation of American security services, counts very much on help from Russia,” Tarasov told ITAR-TASS. “This was the first meeting between Russian diplomats and Yaroshenko after a sharp deterioration of his health. His symptoms suggest that he is suffering from preinfarction angina. The prison administration constantly denied him urgent medical help. The situation started to change after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had put pressure on the Americans. The Russian citizen was examined at the prison infirmary and he took an electrocardiogram test. However the results of the examination have not been disclosed to any of us [either to Yaroshenko or to his layer or to the diplomats],” the lawyer said.

“The condition of Russian citizen Yaroshenko, who was unfairly sentenced in the United States to a long prison term, remains a matter of serious concern,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said earlier.

“The joint efforts of Russian diplomats and American lawyer Alexei Tarasov, who confirmed after a meeting with our compatriot in prison that he [Yaroshenko] needed urgent medical attention, helped secure the American authorities’ consent to an urgent medical examination,” Dolgov said.

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.”

“Konstantin, whose health deteriorated dramatically after tortures and humiliating treatment during the arrest, has been seeking urgent and qualified medical aid for at least the last two weeks. He has repeatedly filed written petitions about a sharp deterioration of health. But the prison administration did not respond,” the lawyer said.

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.

Two weeks ago, the prison administration denied urgent medical aid to Yaroshenko, 45. 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.

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.

Foreign Ministry Commissioner 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.

“Not a meeting with our American colleagues at any level, including my regular contacts with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, passes without our raising the question of Bout and Yaroshenko,” Lavrov said.