MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, imprisoned in the United States, has accused the staff of the US Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution of discriminating against him due to his religion and national origin.
"Nobody visits me except Russian diplomats. US citizens are visited several times in a week. Moreover, prisoners who practice other religions have privileges … while I have been trying to get permission to obtain an icon and a baptismal cross for six years … That is nothing but discrimination based on religion and national origin,” Yaroshenko told the newspaper Izvestiya.A priest who tried to visit Yaroshenko, confirmed that this summer he had not been allowed to visit the Russian pilot.
"I was told that my request and special documents, which needed to be prepared for me to visit the prisoner, had been lost. I wasn't given any notification. Now I am trying to pass the procedure again. The process is very difficult and strange,” the priest told the newspaper.
Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2011 on allegations of conspiring to import more than $100 million worth of cocaine into the United States. He was captured in Liberia in 2010 and turned 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.
In a March letter to Sputnik, Yaroshenko said the US court ignored a lot of evidence that proved prosecutors and drug enforcement authorities had fabricated the case against him.