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27 Aug, 2018 12:00

Russian pilot Yaroshenko to seek UN probe into his abduction by US special services

Russian pilot Yaroshenko to seek UN probe into his abduction by US special services

Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko reaffirmed his intention to ask the UN Security Council to investigate numerous violations of his rights by US special services, including abduction, a botched trial, and torture.

Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year sentence in a maximum security prison, was recently granted the right to a family visit. This led to his first meeting with his wife in seven years. Around the same time, Yaroshenko met with his lawyer, who allowed him to share information about his current condition and plans with Russian daily Izvestia.

It is necessary to address the UN Security Council and ask them to conduct an investigation into my abduction, torture, fabrication of a falsified criminal case and subsequent illegal conviction, imprisonment and discrimination. Also, the fact that I have been denied medical aid for a long time. I would like for such investigation to take place and its results made public,” Yaroshenko told the newspaper.

Asked about his feelings following the family visit, Yaroshenko said the meeting was extremely emotional and that when it finally happened, he and his loved ones could not hold back the tears, and “talked for five and a half hours without stopping.”

Yaroshenko also said the prison administration acted to remove the reporters who waited for his family near the prison.

The Russian pilot said that although he felt extremely sad about the fact that his mother died while waiting for him to return from prison, he still hopes to return to Russia alive and to be with his family.

Konstantin Yaroshenko was detained in May 2010 in Liberia on charges of conspiracy to smuggle illegal drugs, based on a sting operation by the US Drug Enforcement Agency. He was then handed over to the United States in violation of internationally accepted protocols, tried and sentenced to 20 years in a maximum security prison. Yaroshenko has always maintained his innocence and said that the trial was an attempt by the US authorities to extract information about his former employer, Viktor Bout – once the owner of an international transport company who had been jailed in the US on charges that were the result of a deliberate provocation.

Russian diplomats have repeatedly requested that the US authorities hand Yaroshenko over to Russia for continuation of his prison sentence, but the requests have been denied. Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova personally addressed US President Donald Trump, asking him to pardon Konstantin Yaroshenko, but the request was left without a reply.

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