NEW YORK, September 20. /TASS/. The New York Southern District's court has turned down a request for the release of jailed Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko for health reasons. The defense had filed the petition back in December 2020 in view of the risk of his exposure to the novel coronavirus in prison, Yaroshenko's lawyer Alexey Tarasov told TASS on Monday.
The court's reply was received on Monday.
"The verdict is negative," the lawyer said. The court ruled that although Yaroshenko had a number of chronic diseases, there were no circumstances that would promote his release at this very moment.
In its petition, the defense stressed that Yaroshenko had already undergone several surgeries and had chronic diseases, such as hyperlipidemia. In his case, contracting the novel coronavirus in prison would in fact spell a death verdict. The judge found that the diseases in question were not on the US Center for Control and Prevention's list of diseases that aggravate COVID-19.
"There were reasons for Yaroshenko's release, but the judge found they were insufficient," Tarasov said. "Bearing in mind the judge's powers in such cases, any further appeals are rather problematic."
Tarasov said that this year the Russian side would be able to file another request for Yaroshenko's transfer to Russia for serving the prison term at home, for which it may employ the mechanism of the Council of Europe's 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
"I believe that Russia will take this step within months," Tarasov said, adding that such measures were not a competence of the defense.
Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the US on September 7, 2011. He pled not guilty and argued that his arrest was a provocation and the whole case, a frame-up. He had been brought to the United States following his arrest in Liberia on May 28, 2010. Agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration conducted a sting operation to allegedly expose his criminal intention to transport a large batch of cocaine.