WASHINGTON, September 12. /TASS/. The Russian Embassy in the United States filed a request to the U.S. State Department not to transfer Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko to another prison, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on Friday.
"At the request of the relatives of the Russian citizen, we sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. Department of State with a request not to change the place of detention of Konstantin Yaroshenko," Antonov said. His words are published on the facebook page of the Russian diplomatic mission in the U.S.
According to the diplomat, the Embassy is concerned about the decision of the U.S. authorities to transfer Konstantin Yaroshenko to another correctional facility.
"Moreover, the Embassy is not aware of the name, type and regime of the prison to which our compatriot is planned to be transferred. Taking into account the pre-existing conditions that Konstantin Yaroshenko has, we believe that changing the place of serving his sentence may negatively affect his physical and mental state of health," the Russian ambassador said.
On Thursday, Russian lawyer Alexei Tarasov told TASS that the defense of Yaroshenko, who is serving a sentence in the Danbury prison in Connecticut, is demanding that the U.S. authorities cancel his transfer to a private prison. According to Tarasov, the request came from the department of the US Federal Bureau of Prisons in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). The lawyer noted that the name of the prison and the reasons of transfer of his client are still unknown. He also said that "Yaroshenko is against the transfer."
In April, the administration of the Danbury prison notified Yaroshenko that his request for early release due to the risk of contracting the coronavirus had been denied. The defense sought the release of the Russian following increased risks of infection in prison, and also because he had already served more than half of the sentence.
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in May 2010, and was later clandestinely transferred to the United States. In September 2011, he was found guilty of conspiring to smuggle a major cocaine shipment into the US, and sentenced to 20 years behind bars. However, Yaroshenko pleaded not guilty, saying that his arrest was a setup and the case was fabricated.
The Russian was first sent to the Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution, but in mid-June, 2018, he was first transferred to a transit prison in Brooklyn, New York, and then to the Danbury prison, which holds more than 1,400 inmates. Russian officials and the pilot’s family have on numerous occasions requested that Washington extradite him to Russia.