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US-jailed Russian pilot Yaroshenko says his cellmate died of coronavirus — attorney

Yaroshenko told his lawyer that a man who slept on a bed next to his’ had died
Konstantin Yaroshenko Valery Matitsyn/TASS
Konstantin Yaroshenko
© Valery Matitsyn/TASS

NEW YORK, April 20. /TASS/. Russian pilot Viktor Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year prison term in a US prison, says that one of his cellmates has died of a coronavirus-related disease, Yaroshenko’s attorney Alexei Tarasov told TASS on Monday.

According to Tarasov, Yaroshenko told him that a man who slept on a bed next to his’ had died. "His bed was two meters away from mine," Tarasov quoted him as saying. The attorney said Yaroshenko is kept in a general cell accommodating about 100 inmates. "Yaroshenko says everyone there is in panic," Tarasov said.

The attorney said his client told him that the man had been sick for three days but had received no medical assistance. "He was taken to isolation when he was so sick that he could not get up from the bed and was suffocating. In a while, they learnt that the man had died because of coronavirus," Tarasov said, adding that in Yaroshenko’s words, it happened presumably on Sunday.

Yaroshenko "is having all the coronavirus symptoms" and thinks he has contracted the disease, the attorney said, adding that no medical assistance had been offered to the Russian national. All he has receives was a face mask, he noted. Yaroshenko, in his words, is sure that all the inmates of his prison are infected.

As follows from a release on the website of the US Federal Bureau of Prisons, twenty-nine inmates and 38 employees of the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, are infected with the novel coronavirus. One fatality was reported, with no further details. The Bureau gave no answer to TASS’ inquiry.

Konstantin Yaroshenko was convicted in the United States in September 2011 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The pilot was clandestinely transferred to the United States from Liberia, where he had been arrested in May 2010. Agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration operating under cover allegedly exposed Yaroshenko’s criminal intention to transport a large batch of cocaine. He pleaded not guilty, condemning his arrest as a provocation and the whole case as an utter set-up.