The legal team representing Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a U.S. court after being convicted of smuggling a large haul of drugs, plans to lodge a request seeking a review of Yaroshenko's conviction.
"Today we are preparing a petition for a review of this case due to newly discovered evidence. We intend to lodge it in August," the Russian citizen's lawyer, Alexei Tarasov, told Interfax.
"Although Konstantin has already gone through all the stages of appeal proceedings, refusing, however, to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, we have an opportunity to request a case review. We can also appeal the lower court's conviction on the same grounds - due to newly discovered evidence," he said.
The U.S. Department of Justice earlier refused to extradite Yaroshenko to Russia, but said that the Russian authorities would be able to again seek Yaroshenko's extradition in two years, he said.
"The Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer [of Sentenced Persons], which was ratified by the U.S., does not set any restrictions for the number of repeat requests. This norm can be found only in a supra-legislative act of the American Department of Justice that was introduced by America unilaterally," Tarasov said.
The Council of Europe's convention allows Yaroshenko himself to demand his transfer to Russia, but he "thinks that such a request is a matter for the Russian government," the lawyer said, describing Yaroshenko as "a true patriot of his country."
Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said on February 20 that the ministry was able to take only limited measures concerning Yaroshenko's case, while the issue of medical treatment for the Russian citizen was being tackled through diplomatic channels.
The Russian Justice Ministry cannot appeal the U.S. authorities' refusal to transfer Yaroshenko to Russia, Konovalov said, citing the absence of an appropriate mechanism.
Tarasov, for his part, said that Russian diplomats had met with Yaroshenko.
"I have spoken to the vice consul, who has told me that Russia's consul general to New York and officials of the Consulate General met with Konstantin in the prison," the lawyer said.
Yaroshenko told them that he had had a heart ultrasound test, two electrocardiographic examinations and an X-ray test, Tarasov said.
"Konstantin did not look healthy," he said, citing the diplomats who visited Yaroshenko. "The condition of Yaroshenko's health was totally ignored previously. He was given minimal medical treatment nearly four years ago after he was subject to savage torture in Africa, where he had eight teeth brutally ripped out, where he was tied to a chair standing on only two legs and was beaten with blunt objects," Tarasov said.
The state of Yaroshenko's health demands urgent medical attention "following the emotional distress caused by the trial and this draconian sentence," the lawyer said.
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia on May 28, 2010, on charges of plotting to transport a large amount of cocaine, and was then deported to the United States. On September 7, 2011 the Russian man was sentenced by a U.S. judge to 20 years in prison.
According to earlier reports, Yaroshenko's health deteriorated some two weeks ago. According to his relatives and lawyer, Yaroshenko is having chest pains and has trouble breathing.
After Yaroshenko was examined by doctors for the first time, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its outrage about the fact that the urgent medical evaluation of Konstantin Yaroshenko earlier promised by the administration of Fort Dix prison in reality turned out to be a formal and superficial examination and neither he nor his lawyer and Russian diplomats were informed about its results.