By Alexander Ionov and Anastasia Promskaya
The United States legal system has already issued 22 warrants for the arrest of some Russian citizens. In fact, the detention can occur both in the U.S. and other countries. We all know about a trumped-up case of Viktor Bout, Roman Seleznev, Konstantin Yaroshenko and others. This practice is unacceptable, it contradicts international legal norms, as well as the provisions of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on criminal cases of 1999, but Washington doesn’t care about it. Any criminal process in U.S. against Russians is purely political in its core. The US officials are waging an information war against Russia on all fronts, and once they kidnap another Russian, all American media are beginning an active smear campaign against Russian citizens.
In December 2015, the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern district of New York and a lawyer of Konstantin Yaroshenko Alexey Tarasov exchanged motions to an appeal court of the second district. The lawyer asks from an appeals instance to cancel the decision of the Federal judge Jed Rakoff, who sentenced Yaroshenko in 2011 to 20 years in prison and then refused to appoint a new process. Rakoff does not take into account Yaroshenko’s complaints of torture and official inquiries of the Russian side which are pointing out the violation of international law during the detention of our citizens.
In May 2010, Konstantin Yaroshenko was fraudulently ensnared to Liberia, where, on 8 May, the security forces of Liberia and the U.S. illegally detained him by force. For several days he was tortured and beaten by American agents who tried to force him to bear testimony, as he had no real opportunity for legal support in the African country. After not having achieved their goals, the agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States took the decision to extradite Yaroshenko to the US for the subsequent trial. Nobody was embarrassed by the fact that such actions violated the international law. Drug Enforcement Administration (DMA) directly subdues to the United States Attorney General, so the smear information campaign against Russia and its citizens has been preplanned and agreed at the “top” of the United States. The Russian Federation was not informed of the detention, investigation and extradition of its citizen to the U.S. The American side explained that their employee had no fax number on hand to send an official document about the detention of Yaroshenko.
The trial of the Russian citizen reminded a politicized performance. It was attended by the official prosecutor, judge and twelve jurors – American citizens who had to bring in a “correct” verdict of guilty to a citizen of the country that is so actively hated by them. All the arguments from the defense team were immediately swept aside. The most absurd moment of the trial happened during the discussion of Konstantin’s itinerary in the African continent. The public prosecutor showed the jurors a world map, like they had never seen it before, to show them the frightening distance between Russia and Liberia. “Let’s see how far this Russian was flying to accomplish his evil plans,” the prosecutor exclaimed, and twelve Americans gasped and moaned, but no one looked into the passport of Yaroshenko to find out that before Liberia he had visited four more countries. There was also no evidence of a purposeful visit to Liberia. Nobody from ”the high jury” reacted to Konstantin’s objectives that he had been fraudulently ensnared to Liberia. The result was predictable — 20 years of imprisonment in the USA.
Konstantin’s lawyers did not give up and conducted their own investigation, during which it was stated that DEA agents paid a substantial fee to Liberian colleagues for the detention and the possibility of subsequent extradition of the Russian citizen. It was also found out that Yaroshenko was deliberately selected by CIA; he was under close surveillance from the moment of arrival to the continent. After these facts had been revealed, two agents of the Liberian security services disappeared; there is still no information on them. The judge rejected all the evidence provided, including those of violent actions against Yaroshenko.
After the enforcement of the sentence and imprisonment of Konstantin in the prison block of Fort Dix, his health has seriously deteriorated. Torture and refusal of the American side in medical care resulted in several serious chronic diseases and heart attack, which could cost him life. Yaroshenko is in urgent need of surgery and constant medical monitoring, but prison officials refuse to buy necessary drugs and allow a doctor from the Russian Embassy to visit him. They also try to hide his medical history. It literally means that Konstantin Yaroshenko continues to stay under strong pressure which can have very bad consequences. Konstantin has composed and sent a complaint letter to the address of International Committee of the Red Cross.
American justice system has become a tool of the state repressive apparatus, which can be used against both US and foreign citizens. Remember the notorious prison Guantanamo located in Cuba. Earlier, the U.S. President Barack Obama as one of his principal purposes mentioned the closure of this prison in which international law and human rights were violated.
According to Barack Obama, as soon as he assumed his office as a President, he made a decision “to order the closing of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay”. “Rather than keep us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security. It is a rallying cry for our enemies… By any measure, the costs of keeping it open far exceed the complications involved in closing it.” Despite the release of a large number of detainees, there are still a lot of innocent people held in the prison without any hope or right for a fair trial or investigation. Unfortunately, terrible practice of torture at Guantanamo Bay is not the only example of violation of international law pertaining to the treatment of detainees. Secret CIA prisoners worked in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland and Romania, and other countries. They were supposedly closed during the presidency of Barack Obama. However, the resources of different human rights organizations still publish new horrific details of atrocities against people detained in these prisons. After the appearance of the latest report of the human rights activists, the head of the CIA recognized the need for change in the treatment of prisoners. However, this is unlikely to change something in the fate of those who are now in American prisons, including Konstantin Yaroshenko. And certainly it will not help people who have gone through physical, psychological and moral torture, with the use of dogs, baiting, humiliation and harassment.
Alexander Ionov, President of the Anti-globalization movement of Russia:
“I believe we need to engage world community, international human rights organizations, and committees against repression of the security services in the U.S., etc. into an investigation of the case of Konstantin Yaroshenko. We need to immediately stop torture and all sorts of pressure on the Russian citizen. We demand from the U.S. authorities to provide medical care for our citizens. It is necessary to establish a permanent commission of representatives of the Russian Embassy in the USA, including doctors of the diplomatic mission, members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and relatives of Yaroshenko, to ensure decent living conditions in the prison Fort Dix and providing of constant medical care for the Russian citizen”.