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    Konstantin Yaroshenko

    Russian Diplomats Visit Yaroshenko in US Prison Following Ungrounded Searches

    © Photo : Konstantin Yaroshenko's lawyer
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russian diplomats have met with jailed pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a prison term in the United States, and demanded that US prison officials respect the Russian citizen’s rights, the Russian Consulate General in New York said in a statement.

    "On April 1, the Consulate General organized a meeting between Russian diplomats and Yaroshenko in the Fort Dix prison," the statement said on Monday. "During the meeting, Yaroshenko complained about unreasonable searches in public and negative personal attitude toward him from a Russophobe prison official."

    Yaroshenko said US prison officials may be trying to provoke him to break rules in order to transfer him into solitary confinement so that he has no contact with his family and the media, according to the consulate.

    "An official notice has been sent to the prison's leadership demanding that Yaroshenko's legal rights are respected. The Consulate General is constantly monitoring the situation," the statement added.

    Yaroshenko’s attorney Alexey Tarasov told Sputnik earlier in the day officials at the Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution pay higher than usual attention to the Russian pilot by searching his belongings.

    "On March 29, Konstantin was called in the jail lieutenant’s office. His personal belongings were searched but nothing was found," Tarasov said on Monday. "Of course, this is worrisome … Prison officials pay higher attention to him than usual."

    Tarasov suggested that by searching his belongings jail officials tried to catch Yaroshenko committing "some illegal activities."

    "But it was unsuccessful because Konstantin did not break any rules. In general, he tries to be as quiet as a mouse not to attract any attention," he said.

    Yaroshenko is afraid such searches can become more frequent due to the current tensions in US-Russia relations, his attorney added.

    On Saturday, the Russian embassy in the United States voiced serious concerns over the reports about humiliation of Yaroshenko in an US prison. The diplomatic mission called on the jail administration to stop violation of fundamental rights of a Russian citizen.

    The Russian pilot was given 20 years in prison in 2011 on allegations of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States. Yaroshenko was captured in Liberia in 2010 and handed over to the United States, prompting protests from Russia. In April 2016, the Appeals Court of New York refused to revise the pilot's sentence.

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    police brutality, search, jail, Konstantin Yaroshenko, Russia, United States
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