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No Retrial for Yaroshenko, US Court Rules


WASHINGTON, August 15 (RIA Novosti) – The full panel of the New York Federal Court of Appeals rejected a motion for retrial by Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko this week, who was found guilty on drug smuggling charges and is serving a 20-year prison term in the United States.

“It was denied,” an unidentified clerk at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, said in a phone conversation with RIA Novosti.

Yaroshenko and an acquaintance were arrested in Liberia in an undercover operation in May 2010, and were flown to the United States.

Yaroshenko pleaded innocent to drug smuggling charges but was convicted and sentenced in April 2011 for colluding to smuggle cocaine into the United States. He was caught after replying to an advertisement posted by agents with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who claimed they were selling a cargo plane for $1.

Yaroshenko said he did want to buy a plane, but did not plan to use it to transport drugs. He said his poor English prevented him from understanding the nature of the deal.

The latest ruling came down on Wednesday and outraged officials in Russia, many of whom are convinced of Yaroshenko’s innocence.

"We regard the decision made by the New York court of appeals not to review the conviction of Konstantin Yaroshenko despite the absence of evidence of any crimes committed by him and his illegal arrest by the US special services in Liberia as inhumane, illogical and unacceptable," Russian Foreign Ministry envoy Konstantin Dolgov said in a posting on the Russian Foreign Ministry website on Thursday.

Dolgov said the ruling ignores the defense team’s “arguments on political motives” regarding the verdict in the case, as well as “numerous violations” by US authorities and “the use of prohibited methods of physical and psychological impact on the Russian citizen."

Defense attorneys have three months to file an appeal to the US Supreme Court, which can decide whether or not to hear the case.

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