ROSTOV-ON-DON, June 18. /TASS/. Russian pilot Viktor Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year prison term in a US prison, is ready to apply for pardon, his wife Viktoria told TASS on Thursday, adding that her husband is in a depressed condition because of health problems.
An attorney of US citizen Paul Whelan, accused of espionage and sentenced to 16 years behind bars, said on Monday he did not rule out that a deal to swap his client for Russian nationals Viktor Bout or Konstantin Yaroshenko incarcerated in American prisons would be looked into after the sentence came into effect. The lawyer also said Whelan wanted to challenge the sentence. On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said however that the swap issue was not discussed.
"Naturally, he [Yaroshenko] will be glad if it happens. He will be glad to be swapped. He is even ready to apply for pardon, if necessary. He is now in a desperate condition, with his entire body, from the teeth to the stomach, aching. He has problems with blood pressure. He cannot even understand what I and his attorney are telling him now because of terrible headaches. He is in depressed condition," Viktoria Yaroshenko said.
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.
On June 4, 2020, Russia’s embassy in the United States once again called on the US authorities to release Russian nationals from US prisons because of the coronavirus infection risks.