Russian smuggler pilot pleads for release from US custody
NEW YORK, February 17 (RAPSI) - Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who was sentenced to 20 years in jail in the US for involvement in conspiring to smuggle drugs, is experiencing health problems in US prison, and pleads to the Russian authorities for his extradition, his attorney Alexei Tarasov told RIA Novosti on Monday.
In a letter passed to his attroney, Yaroshenko asks to "petition the US authorities and President Barack Obama personally" to release him and turn over to Russia as soon as possible. On Saturday it was reported that Yaroshenko experienced strong migraines and heart pain.
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in an undercover operation in May 2010. In April 2011, Yaroshenko 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 US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who claimed they were selling a cargo plane for $1.
Yaroshenko pleaded not guilty during the trial. He said his poor English prevented him from understanding the nature of the deal. He said he did want to buy a plane, but did not plan to use it to transport drugs.
In June 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York rejected his appeal against a 20-year sentence for drug trafficking. The court ruled that - under the law - neither cruelty on the part of the police nor kidnapping by government agents can be considered sufficient grounds for appealing a verdict.
Yaroshenko refrained from filing an appeal with the US Supreme Court. His refusal was based on a desire to accelerate his transfer to Russia, Yarosheko’s lawyer Aleksei Tarasov told RIA Novosti in November. “If the process starts in the Supreme Court the verdict won’t be deemed final,” the agency quoted the lawyer as having said.
Judicial processes must be deemed final in order to launch extradition proceedings in earnest.