Human rights envoy sees chance to return jailed pilot from US to Russia
The decision of U.S. court to turn down an appeal of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko gives a chance to use the 1983 Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons because such precedents have already happened in relations between Russia and the United States, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry's envoy for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, told Interfax.
"What counts most is that now we might have an opportunity to secure his return to Russia using the Council of Europe's 1983 convention. This convention has already been used in relation to an American citizen who was returned by us under this convention, setting a precedent," Dolgov said.
At the same time, Russian diplomat expressed regret over the U.S. court's decision to reject Yaroshenko's appeal.
"This situation comes as a follow-up to the absolutely unfair and biased policy the American law enforcement agencies and judicial system have been pursuing toward our citizen, starting with his abduction on the territory of Liberia and his illegal extradition to the U.S. in violation of international law," he said.
Dlogov said that Moscow has no fears that the U.S. authorities might refuse to send Yaroshenko back to Russia in retaliation for Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to former CIA employee Edward Snowden.
"We are not afraid of it. We see absolutely no reasons to combine these two cases because they have totally nothing in common. As far as Snowden is concerned, Russia did not violate any international obligations and norms. It acted in compliance with the [UN] Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and did not violate any bilateral agreements with the U.S. But as far as Yaroshenko\'s case is concerned, it was accompanied by violations of international law and bilateral Russian-American agreements," he said.
"If the American side chooses to solve the problem by such methods, it will be the choice made by our American colleagues," the diplomat said.
The Russian authorities continue insisting that Yaroshenko\'s rights be observed and that the condition of his cell in a U.S. prison be in line with all of the international standards, he said.
"So far, it has not been done," Dolgov said.
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia on drug smuggling charges and was subsequently extradited to the U.S., where he was sentenced to 20 years at the low security Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey.