U.S. President Trump refuses to pardon pilot Yaroshenko – Russian ombudsman
MOSCOW, April 2 (RAPSI) – U.S. President Donald Trump found no grounds for pardoning Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year sentence in the U.S. for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine, the press service of Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova told RAPSI on Monday.
Investigation into the Russian pilot’s case has been conducted in compliance of democratic rules, and the sentence passed on Yaroshenko is reasonable and lawful, the letter which Trump sent to Moskalkova reads.
Moreover, in February, Moskalkova asked Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Mark S. Inch for checking prison conditions of Yaroshenko. According to the request directed to Inch, Moskalkova was concerned about tightening of his sentence conditions. In particular, the pilot has been prohibited from buying food and medicine.
Additionally, the number of visits and walks was to be limited for Yaroshenko in March 2018. Toughening of prison conditions contradicts both international standards set for penitentiary institutions and operational policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Russia’s ombudsman stated.
According to the U.S. response, prison conditions of Yaroshenko were checked, no violations of his rights were found.
Konstantin Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia on May 28, 2010 and flown to the United States soon afterwards. On September 7, 2011, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for colluding to smuggle cocaine into the United States. He was caught after replying to an advertisement posted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who claimed they were selling a cargo plane for $1.
He is serving time in the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
In May 2016, a U.S. court dismissed his appeal for a retrial. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said this is evidence that Yaroshenko’s conviction was politically influenced.
It was reported in February 2014 that Yaroshenko experienced strong migraine headaches and heart pain, which could be symptoms of a possible heart attack. Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern over the pilot’s health and pledged to continue working to ensure respect of his rights in the United States.