The story with the arrest of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko by US special services developed into yet another scandal in the relations between Russia and the United States. Russia's Foreign Affairs Ministry accused the USA of violating numerous international rules.
As we reported before, Yaroshenko was arrested in May in Liberia and then taken to the USA. US prosecutors claimed that the Russian man and his four colleagues from other countries were trying to bribe top Liberian officials in the endeavor to traffic large batches of drugs without obstacles.
US officials believe that Yaroshenko performed numerous flights across the Atlantic Ocean for new batches of illegal goods. They claimed that the drugs were transported from Venezuela to Liberia and then to Ghana. From Ghana, the narcotics were sent to Europe and the United states. As long as the USA was the final destination of the drugs, US officials believe that they have a right to put the Russian pilot on trial. Yaroshenko may face a prison term of up to 40 years.
Alexander Bozhenko, the pilot's lawyer, said at a news conference that the special services did not arrest but seized the pilot. They took his IDs and cell phone. They tortured the pilot and did not allow him call the Russian consulate. The lawyer stressed out that a US court had no rights to judge Yaroshenko, because the latter had never crossed the US border.
Official spokespeople for the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry said that they were seriously concerned about the fact that the US side had not notified Russia of the incident on time. This is a gross violation of international rules .
On July 21, Yaroshenko told his story on Russia's NTV channel.
"I was kept in an unknown building in Liberia. I was subjected to tortures, including beating. They did not let me sleep for several days. I was sitting on a broken chair so that I could not fall asleep. The US special services needed my detention, I don't know, for their records, to prove their efforts in the struggle against organized crime. They needed any pilot, any airline, which could fit into this scheme. Without this scheme I don't think they would arrest anyone," Yaroshenko said.
Russia 's Consul General in New York Andrey Yushmanov said that Yaroshenko had not been provided with medications that he was taking prior to his detention.
"The Russian side is certain that such actions directly violate adequate norms of the international law, the Vienna Convention about consulate relations of 1963 and the bilateral Consulate Convention of 1964. As a matter of fact, it goes about the abduction of a Russian citizen on the territory of a third state," the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
"On July 14th, the US Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle was summoned to Russia's Foreign Affairs Ministry. The ambassador was informed that the actions taken by US authorities were inadmissible," Russian diplomats said.
A reaction from the US State Department appeared yesterday. Official spokesman Philip Crowley said that Yaroshenko had an opportunity to contact Russian diplomats after his arrival from Liberia.
Crowley did not mention, though, how many days it had to take before Yaroshenko received such an opportunity. Nor did he explain why Russian diplomats could not visit Yaroshenko during his detention in Liberia. The remarks from the US official look strange and out of date.
The USA has committed gross violations of international laws. Russia is not going to sit on its hands and just watch the American arbitrariness against its citizen. Any other respectable country would stand up and do something to protect its citizen.
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