US diplomats in Colombia aided in spying on Russian pilot Yaroshenko - lawyer
MOSCOW, January 15 (RAPSI) - An employee of the US embassy in Colombia allegedly handed over spying equipment to an agent of the US Drug Enforcement Administration who could later use it to collect evidence in the Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko’s case, RIA Novosti reports on Thursday citing Yaroshenko’s lawyer Alexei Tarasov.
Tarasov claims that he delivered a video tape to the court that shows how an employee of the US embassy in Bogota hands over recording devices to a secret agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration operating as “Santiago.”
The defense lawyer states that the video tape could potentially justify the actions of the Russian pilot. The defense therefore insists on cancelling Yaroshenko’s verdict and starting a new trial. The prosecution denies the claims that some audio or video tapes were concealed from the court.
Speaking about how he obtained the video tape, Tarasov said that last month he talked with Columbian drug dealer Marcel Acevedo Sarmiento who had met Santiago and is currently serving 12 years in Ohio for importing cocaine. Acevedo Sarmiento said that he had bought secret tapes from Santiago and his relatives had handed them over to Tarasov to present to the court.
Tarasov’s motion states that the defense provided the court with 17 pieces of evidence including Acevedo Sarmiento’s testimony, audio and video tapes and their transcripts, text messages on Yaroshenko’s phone. The prosecution will respond to the motion but the date is not yet set.
Konstantin Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia on May 28, 2010 and flown to the United States soon afterwards. He was convicted on September 7, 2011.
The US Drug Enforcement Agency’s undercover agents allegedly found evidence of Yaroshenko colluding to smuggle cocaine into the United States. Tarasov claims that these DEA agents used unlawful tactics and provoked his client when collecting evidence.
It was the first case when the US secret services detained a Russian national outside their national territory and secretly delivered him to the United States.