Russia to Push for Former Pilot’s Extradition from US

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 12 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow will ask Washington to extradite a Russian national serving a lengthy prison sentence in the United States, in line with the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

A US court on Tuesday turned down former pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko’s appeal. Yaroshenko, 44, had been sentenced to 20 years in a US prison on drug trafficking charges in 2011.

Yaroshenko was arrested in an international drugs bust in Liberia in May 2010, in which four tons of cocaine was seized. He says he was framed because he refused to give evidence against Russian national Viktor Bout.

Russia accused the United States of kidnapping Yaroshenko after notification of his arrest was mistakenly sent to a third country and he was transferred to New York to face charges without Moscow’s knowledge.

A US Department of State spokesman said an employee had “pressed the wrong button on the fax machine” and apologized to Russia in July 2010.

Bout, detained in a joint operation by US and Thai authorities in Bangkok in 2008, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiring to kill US citizens and sell arms to Colombian militants. He has denied wrongdoing and called the trial politically motivated, a claim echoed by Russian officials. Bout was jailed in the United States in April 2012.

Lavrov said in early May that Russia would resort to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons in case the United States turned down appeals from Bout and Yaroshenko.

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