MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. Konstantin Yaroshenko, the Russian pilot who spent 12 years behind bars in the US, plans to engage in public activity, helping Russian nationals imprisoned abroad return home.
"We must support all our fellow countrymen, who are doing time in American prisons, especially now, when relations between Russia and the US are at their lowest point ever," he said in an interview with TASS. "I would do everything to bring our nationals back home, particularly Viktor [Bout], Roman Seleznyov, and others."
"I feel that my knowledge and experience might be useful in some way to Russia," he said. "I would really like to try to bring to justice, or at least just show the world community all the evidence of violations of fundamental international laws by the American authorities," he added.
Yaroshenko is not planning to return to his profession. Twelve years is a long time, he said, adding that he needed lengthy medical rehabilitation.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry reported the exchange of Yaroshenko and US national Trevor Reed on April 27. Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in May 2010 for allegedly plotting to transport a large amount of cocaine. He was then illegally whisked away to the US and sentenced in September 2011 to 20 years behind bars. Yaroshenko has denied the charges, saying he was framed, and denounced his case as a setup. Trevor Reed, an American, was handed a nine-year jail term in Russia in 2020 for physically assaulting police officers.