Russian Diplomats Demand Medical Visit to US-Jailed Pilot

MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s government said Friday that it plans to send a delegation of diplomats and doctors to visit a Russian pilot currently serving a 20-year jail sentence in the US for attempted drug trafficking.

The group will visit the Fort Dix low-security federal correctional facility in New Jersey, where Konstantin Yaroshenko is being held.
Russian doctors examining Yaroshenko are expected to prescribe treatment for what is said to be his worsening health.

“Russia has called on US authorities not to hinder this mission, but instead to offer all possible assistance,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Yaroshenko’s lawyer, Alexey Tarasov, said Friday that his client was experiencing severe headaches and chest pains, which he said indicated pre-stroke symptoms, but that it had proven difficult to obtain medical records from prison authorities.

Yaroshenko was detained in Liberia in 2010 after replying to an advertisement posted by agents with the US Drug Enforcement Agency claiming to be selling a cargo plane for $1. He was later flown to the United States.

The Russian pilot pleaded innocent to drug smuggling charges but was nonetheless convicted and sentenced in April 2011 for colluding to smuggle cocaine into the United States.

Yaroshenko said he had wanted to buy the plane, but that he had no plans to use it to transport drugs. He said his poor English prevented him from understanding the nature of the deal being proposed.

The New York Federal Court of Appeals in August last year rejected a motion for his retrial. The United States has also rejected Russia’s request for Yaroshenko extradition.

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