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Russian Human Rights ombudsman seeks Trump’s pardon for jailed pilot Yaroshenko

Russian Human Rights ombudsman seeks Trump’s pardon for jailed pilot Yaroshenko
Russian ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova has addressed US President Donald Trump in a letter asking him to pardon Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year sentence as a result of a DEA sting operation.

Moskalkova personally announced the move at the Thursday meeting with students and professors of the Kaluga University. The ombudsman added that she had already received a reply from the US Secretary of State who promised that her appeal would be considered, without giving any particular deadlines. She also said that she had received permission for Yaroshenko’s wife to visit her husband in prison.

Konstantin Yaroshenko was a professional aircraft pilot working for a cargo delivery company.  In mid-2010 he got arrested in Liberia as a result of a sting operation of the US Drug Enforcement Agency and handed over to the United States in violation of the international law and universal diplomatic protocol. In 2011 he was sentenced to 20 years in high security prison. The Russian citizen has always maintained his innocence saying that charges against him were based on statements he made because of his poor understanding and command of English and also that the whole operation was launched in order to coerce him into testifying against his former boss – Russian citizen Viktor Bout who is also now serving a lengthy prison sentence in the US as a result of another sting operation.

At the same meeting in Kaluga Moskalkova said that she had asked President Trump “to do everything to free Maria Butina” – the Russian student who was arrested in US in mid-July and charged with “acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General," the felony that can carry up to 15 years behind bars. “There are other methods of punishment, a bail or a travel ban. What horrible crime could she commit with these SMSs to face such harsh justice?” the ombudsman said.