Russian pilot accuses US special services of abduction and torture

Rally for immediate release of Konstantin Yaroshenko held near the US embassy in Moscow © Andrey Lyubimov, Moskva news agency / Sputnik

In a letter to the Russian Human Rights ombudsman, pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko has described the details of his abduction by the US special forces and tortures that he had endured in the US prison.

Yaroshenko is currently serving a 20-year sentence in the United States after being convicted of conspiracy to smuggle illegal drugs as a result of the US DEA sting operation. The Russian citizen has always denied the charges and stated that his detention in Liberia and transportation to the US were parts of a plan to make him testify against another Russian citizen.

In the latest attempt to achieve justice Yaroshenko sent a letter to Russian Human Rights ombudsman, Tatyana Moskalkova, in which he said that during the 2011 trial he was forbidden from mentioning the abduction and torture by US special forces agents, but decided to tell about these violations now in hope for justice for himself and those who wronged him.

In particular, Yaroshenko wrote that he had lost teeth as a result of beatings performed by US agents, adding that the authorities of the prison where he was kept continue to deny him access to a qualified dentist, which by itself can be considered as torture.

The Russian citizen also wrote that he would press for a trial for those who had abducted and tortured him. “This is because right after this trial ends in convictions, which, according to my lawyer is beyond doubt, me and my family will sue everyone who is found guilty for material and moral damages and demand tremendous compensations,” reads the letter, as quoted by Interfax.

Yaroshenko added that in his view such lawsuit could become an additional leverage that could aid his amnesty, pardon or handover to the Russian authorities.

In recent comments, ombudsman Moskalkova said that she planned to take Yaroshenko’s case to the highest level in hope to get the Russian citizen pardoned. “I will attempt to demand him being handed over to Russia so that he continues to serve his sentence here. I will also re-apply for his pardon. I think that this is a very important issue, in view of the forthcoming summit between Vladimir Putin and United States President Donald Trump,” the official stated in her interview with Channel 1 television.

Former commercial aircraft pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a US court in 2011. The charges against him included the alleged participation in a plan to smuggle drugs into the US, buty they were based only on the testimony of US DEA agents, who had launched a sting operation against him. The Russian was first arrested in Liberia and then flown to the US without official extradition procedures and in violation of the diplomatic code.

Russian diplomats have repeatedly requested that the US authorities hand over the Russian citizen, but these requests are always denied. Russian Human Rights ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova has personally addressed US President Donald Trump, asking him to pardon the Russian citizen, but her petition was also rejected.

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