Pilot Yaroshenko Returns to Russia After 12 years in U.S. Prison

Pilot Yaroshenko Returns to Russia After 12 years in U.S. Prison

Photo: https://ren.tv

On April 27, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that after long negotiations with the American side, it was decided to exchange Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, convicted on charges of preparing to carry a large batch of drugs in the United States, for US citizen Trevor Reed, convicted in Russia for an attack on police officers.

Civilian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was detained in Liberia in 2010 by U.S. and local intelligence agencies. He was accused of preparing to transport a large batch of drugs and was deported to the United States. In September 2011, a U.S. court sentenced Yaroshenko to 20 years in prison.

Yaroshenko did not plead guilty because after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to him, he “did not carry any cargo at all” and worked as an expert on the technical condition of aircraft, and since 1998 has been engaged only in passenger traffic.

For several years, the pilot served his sentence at Fort Dix Prison in New Jersey. In mid-June 2018, Yaroshenko was transferred to the Danbury Detention Center in Connecticut. The transfer was allegedly due to his altercation with another detainee.

Notably, the pilot said in one of his phone conversations with Ivan Melnikov, the vice-president of the Russian branch of the International Committee for the Protection of Human Rights that after his abduction by American and Liberian secret service agents, in a special room on May 28-30, 2010 he was subjected to abuse and torture, during which his insides were beaten, not allowed to eat or sleep for three days and then taken to an American military base, where he again endured beatings and torture. Yaroshenko also repeatedly complained about the significant deterioration of his health in prison and the lack of treatment. However, the pilot's complaints remained unanswered.

As for the “heavy fate” of American Trevor Reed, he was detained in Moscow on August 16, 2019. According to investigators, police caught him at the moment of a scandal with two women on a Moscow street. In an attempt to detain him, Reid struck one law enforcement officer and assaulted the other.

On July 30, 2020 the Golovinsky Court of Moscow sentenced Trevor Reed to 9 years in the penal colony with a fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,509.7) compensation for moral damages in favor of the two police victims and on June 28, 2021 the Moscow City Court found Reed's sentence to be lawful.

The American did not plead guilty, because, according to him, at the time of his arrest he “was drunk’ and did not remember anything about what had happened. Nevertheless, he called his case “fabricated from the very beginning” and claimed that all the facts and objective evidence were “ignored.”

Reed served his time in a penitentiary institution in Mordovia and constantly complained about some kind of injuries he received in the colony. According to him, he once reached for his belongings, fell, and “now has a broken rib.” In addition, Reed went on a hunger strike because of the reprimands he received, and he also claimed to have symptoms of tuberculosis. However, the press service of the Federal Penitentiary Service in the Republic of Mordovia reported at the time that Trevor Reed was healthy.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that “as a result of the long negotiation process, an exchange took place on April 27, 2022 of a previously convicted US citizen Trevor Raudi Reed to Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced by an American court to 20 years in prison in 2010.

The Russian Foreign Ministry periodically reported that negotiations were under way to exchange Reed for one of the Russian citizens convicted in the United States, and Yaroshenko for one of the U.S. citizens who had been convicted in Russia. Trevor Reed was taken to Vnukovo airport and has already flown to the United States. As for Konstantin Yaroshenko, according to his wife, he is already flying from Turkey to Moscow.

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