Swap My Jailed Son for US Prisoner, Mother Begs Kremlin

MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) – The mother of a Russian national serving a lengthy prison sentence in the United States has asked the Kremlin to exchange him for an American national serving time in a Russian jail.

Konstantin Yaroshenko, 44, was sentenced to 20 years in a US prison on drug trafficking charges in 2011.

The former pilot says he was framed because he refused to give evidence against Viktor Bout, a Russian national jailed for 25 years on arms trading charges in April 2012.

A court is due to hear Yaroshenko’s appeal later this month, but his mother said it would be “absurd” to expect a positive ruling in favor of a Russian in the United States.

“I have asked … for an exchange, because there will never be justice there [in the United States], and my son will die,” Lyubov Yaroshenko told RIA Novosti.

Yaroshenko was arrested in an international drugs bust in Liberia in May 2010, in which four tons of cocaine were seized.

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.

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