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Russia willing to do whatever it takes to get Yaroshenko back home

Russia's Foreign Ministry considers sentence inhumane, illogical and unacceptable
Photo ITAR-TASS achive
Photo ITAR-TASS achive

MOSCOW, August 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russia will use all available political, diplomatic and legal means to bring Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who has been sentenced to a long prison term in the United States, back home, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said.

Commenting on the New York court of appeals’ refusal to review the guilty verdict to Yaroshenko, Dolgov said the judgment was “inhuman, illogical and unacceptable”.

In September 2011, a U.S court sentenced Yaroshenko, 42, to 20 years in prison for having been involved in a criminal ring organised for smuggling a large shipment of cocaine. He was detained by the U.S. authorities in Liberia and then taken to the United States. Moscow believes that these charges are doubtful.

Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) chief Viktor Ivanov said that his Service had asked the U.S. to provide additional information on the case as only “a brief memo” was given to the Russian drug police, notifying them that Yaroshenko was suspected of drug trafficking in the U.S.

According to Ivanov, FSKN had requested additional information because it was concerned about Yaroshenko’s fate and wants to find out whether he was involved in drug trafficking or not and whether he may have accomplices in Russia.

“The American side insists that he was involved in illegal drug trafficking. We have no other information,” Ivanov said.

Russia is seeking ways to influence the United States over the Yaroshenko case and will take appropriate steps shortly, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

“We hope that the dynamics of our reaction to the case will allow us to influence the minds and mood of the American judges to some extent,” he said.

“Given the verdict handed down by the jury that Konstantin Yaroshenko is guilty of drug smuggling, even though the evidence was based entirely on telephone tapping rather than on real actions, I cannot say that we will succeed in securing a positive result,” the diplomat said.

“We should look for alternative ways to influence the American side. We are doing this now, and we will take appropriate steps in the very near future,” Ryabkov said.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that a situation where Russian citizens fall victim to U.S. justice on the basis of broad interpretation of law is unacceptable.

“We keep on stressing the unacceptability of the situation where a number of Russian citizens fall victim to the application of American legislation and American legislative norms on an exterritorial basis, on the basis of broad interpretation of American laws and the possibility of its extrapolation, including outside the United States,” the diplomat said.