MOSCOW, September 10 (RAPSI) – The defense attorneys for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year sentence on charges of cocaine smuggling, have filed a substantiated appeal with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, his attorney told RIA Novosti.

Alexei Tarasov said the appeal consists of a 71-page basic section and 218 pages of appendices, according to which “Yaroshenko’s case has gone beyond the boundaries of an individual case and concerns the interests of Russia and the United States.”

“US agents have arrested about 20 Russian citizens since they took Yaroshenko,” Tarasov said.

The appeal is based on the case of the United States v. Toscanino, which the New York Court of Appeals heard in 1974. The judge ruled that the verdict be overturned because the defendant was forcibly abducted by government agents to the United States for the purpose of facing criminal charges, tortured and tried in violation of other countries’ legislation. Tarasov claims that these arguments fully apply to Yaroshenko’s case.

The attorney also said they would provide evidence that US security agencies collected damning information about Yaroshenko in Ukraine illegally and in violation of an agreement on mutual legal assistance.

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 US. He was caught after replying to an advertisement posted by US 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 late May, a US court rejected his appeal for a retrial. The Russian 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 for his rights in the United States.