Russia Demands Access to Russian Drug Smuggler in U.S. Jail
Moscow- Russia has summoned an American embassy envoy, demanding diplomatic and medical access to a Russian drug smuggler imprisoned in the United States who Moscow says was tortured when arrested by the U.S. authorities in 2010.
In a statement published late on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said a Russian doctor should examine Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot serving a 20-year sentence for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States and whose health, his lawyer says, has been worsening.
U.S.-Russia relations are fraught, with the two countries at loggerheads over Syria, where Russia backs President Bashar al-Assad, Putin’s crackdown on internal dissent, and U.S. missile defense plans, which Russia says threaten its security. Their relationship was further strained when Russia granted asylum to former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The United States and Russia are also locked in a test of wills over Ukraine, which has been racked by anti-government protests and sporadic violence.
Yaroshenko’s lawyer, Alexei Tarasov, told the Russia Today state TV channel that his client had experienced symptoms of a heart attack, but was not being helped. He also said Yaroshenko had told him he may not live through the weekend.”The Russian side emphasized that the full responsibility for the life and health of our fellow citizen lies with the United States authorities,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in its statement. It would not name the U.S. diplomat.
“We have repeatedly drawn attention to the worsening of his chronic illnesses that resulted from torture and abuse he suffered during his arrest,” the ministry said.The American embassy was not immediately available to comment. (Reuters)