Russia’s Justice Ministry has applied for the transfer of Russian ex-pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, jailed in the U.S. for drug trafficking, to Russia, the minister said on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix near New York, complained of racial and religious discrimination against him and called on the Russian Justice Ministry to intervene as a matter of urgency.
Minister Alexander Konovalov said the ministry had sent a relevant request with the U.S. authorities.
“Russia’s principled position is that Russian people should serve prison terms in their country,” Konovalov told Russia Today TV. “It is a technical issue in the cases of Yaroshenko and Bout. We need to rely on international conventions to get the Russian citizens back to Russia.”
Businessman Viktor Bout is another Russian who is serving a 25-year term in the U.S. for conspiring to kill U.S. citizens and sell arms to Colombian militants. His defense team is also working on an appeal to the Russian Ministry of Justice requesting his extradition from the U.S.
But Konovalov warned that Bout could not be expected to return home as soon as he wishes to.
“As far as I know, the position of U.S. authorities is that any person convicted in the U.S. should serve at least half of his/her sentence in a U.S. jail,” Konovalov said.