Russian pilot appeals 20-year sentence for drug trafficking in U.S.

Defense lawyers in the United States have appealed a 20-year sentence handed down to Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was convicted of drug trafficking.

The appeal was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Yaroshenko, 43, was arrested in an international drug bust in Liberia last year. A New York jury convicted him in April. He was sentenced on September 7.

Moscow has decried the verdict as a “virtual kidnapping of a Russian citizen” and pledged to fight for his release.

Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) took custody of Yaroshenko after he was detained on May 28 last year by Liberian authorities and whisked him to New York without notifying Russia.

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