MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will resort to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons in case the United States turn down appeals from jailed Russian nationals Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“When appellate procedures in regard to verdicts against Bout and Yaroshenko, who both filed appeals, are over, we [Russia] intend to involve a mechanism of the Council of Europe’s convention on the transfer of sentenced persons to serve sentences in their countries and in this case hope for cooperation,” Lavrov said.
Speaking at a news conference after his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Moscow on Tuesday, Lavrov said he and his colleague always raise at their meetings the issue of Bout and Yaroshenko’s confinement in US prisons.
“We were promised the necessary measures in regard to a medical assistance, nourishment and other aspects of their confinement in US prisons,” Lavrov said.
Kerry said the United States worked closely on the issue of Bout and Yaroshenko with the Russian Foreign Ministry, but it was not the problem that could affect the relations between the two countries.
Yaroshenko, 44, was sentenced to 20 years in a US prison on drug trafficking charges in 2011. The former pilot says he was framed because he refused to give evidence against Viktor Bout. A court is due to hear Yaroshenko’s appeal later this month.
Bout, detained in a joint operation by US and Thai authorities in Bangkok in 2008, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiring to kill US citizens and sell arms to Colombian militants. He has denied wrongdoing and called the trial politically motivated, a claim echoed by Russian officials.
In January, his lawyer Albert Dayan filed an appeal against the sentence, pronounced in April 2012. The appeal is currently being considered.
Yaroshenko’s mother said on Tuesday that it was “absurd” to expect a positive ruling in favor of her son in the United States and asked the Kremlin to exchange him for an American national serving time in a Russian jail.