Russia vows to bring home citizens jailed in the US

Moscow is to demand the return to Russia of Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko – Russian citizens who are facing criminal charges in the US – on the basis of the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

In the prosecution of businessman Bout and pilot Yaroshenko, the American authorities violated international law by going beyond their territorial jurisdiction, said Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry envoy on human rights, democracy and supremacy of law.

Speaking at a media conference on Monday, the official said that “unfortunately” extra-territorial legislation was applied by the US in both cases involving Russian nationals.

“We are deeply convinced that the Russian citizens were illegally extradited and in effect seized on the territory of third countries and were later extradited to the US,” Dolgov said, as cited by Interfax news agency.

The diplomat stressed that these actions violated international law and were unacceptable.

Dolgov said that currently the Russian side is taking all necessary measures to ensure that the two Russian citizens are provided with decent living conditions in American prisons and also to expedite their return to Russia.At the same time, he stressed, Moscow is using only legal means to achieve these goals.

The Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons – signed and ratified by both Russia and the US – is one of the instruments Moscow intends to use to seek the return of its citizens, including Bout and Yaroshenko.

In September, pilot Yaroshenko was found guilty of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the US and sentenced by an American court to 20 years in prison. Several weeks later, a New York Federal jury found Bout guilty of attempting to sell heavy weapons to a Colombian terrorist group. He will be sentenced on February 8 2012, and may get from 25 years to life behind bars.

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