28 Oct 2019 19:52

U.S. motivates refusal to transfer convicted pilot Yaroshenko by gravity of crime - Russian Justice Ministry

MOSCOW. Oct 28 (Interfax) - The United States has explained its refusal to hand over the pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko sentenced to 20 years in prison by the gravity of his crime, the Russian Justice Ministry press service said.

"In line with the Convention [on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons], the Russian Justice Ministry forwarded an address to the U.S. Department of Justice on April 22, 2019 concerning Yaroshenko's transfer to Russia, on which the U.S. decided on October 7, 2019 to deny such transfer due to the gravity of the crime committed by the sentenced person and the position of law enforcement agencies," the press service said in reply to a question from Interfax on Monday.

The U.S. Department of Justice also notified Russia of the national law provision stipulating that the next request for a sentenced person's transfer may be submitted upon the expiration of two years from the moment a decision was made on a previous such request, it said.

Izvestia earlier reported that the U.S. denied Yaroshenko's transfer to Russia. The newspaper cited excerpts from a letter by Paula Wolff, associate director of the International Prisoner Transfer Unit of the U.S. Department of Justice, addressed to her counterpart Alexandra Dronova of the Russian Justice Ministry.

Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia on May 28, 2010, on counts of plotting transportation of a large batch of cocaine. He was deported to the United States and sentenced to 20 years on September 7, 2011.

Yaroshenko spent several years in the Fort Dix prison, but was transferred in the middle of June 2018, presumably because of a brawl with another inmate. He is currently serving time in the Danbury penitentiary in Connecticut.