MOSCOW, September 28 (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Yaroshenko told the Russian Izvestia newspaper that US prison authorities pressured him into signing a document on his transfer to Russia.
"The Justice Ministry has not received any information about Konstantin Yaroshenko submitting a request on serving his jail term in Russia. A repeated request about Yaroshenko's transfer to Russia has not been submitted [by the ministry] to the relevant US authorities as such a request has not been received by the ministry from the prisoner," the ministry told Izvestia on Wednesday, commenting the situation.
The document signed by the pilot only stated his readiness for a transfer to his country of citizenship, Yaroshenko's attorney Alexey Tarasov told the newspaper.
A transfer request was made by the Russian Justice Ministry around three years ago, but was turned down by the US side. The pilot's mother, Lyubov Yaroshenko, said she had began preparing documents to make a transfer request to the Justice Ministry.
"We are preparing a letter for the Justice Ministry asking to transfer Konstantin to Russia in accordance with the 1983 convention…Of course, we want for the Russian ministry to against submit the request to the United States again," she told Izvestia.
Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring to import more than $100 million worth of cocaine into the United States, having been arrested in Liberia in 2010 and subsequently extradited to the United States.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly expressed concern over the circumstances of the pilot's arrest and the poor conditions of his detention. The issue was discussed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US State Secretary John Kerry earlier this month, but was not discussed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama during their last meeting, according to the Kremlin.