Russian pilot arrested in US is exchanged for US student arrested in Russia

Photo by Guido Potters, GFDL, via Wikimedia

Russia and the US exchanged convicts Trevor Reed and Konstantin Yaroshenko on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS news agency.

“As a result of the long negotiation process, US citizen Trevor Rowdy Reed, previously sentenced in the Russian Federation, was exchanged on April 27, 2022 by Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, sentenced to 20 years in prison by an American court in 2010 ”said the Ministry.

The case of Konstantin Yaroshenko

Konstantin Yaroshenko is an airline pilot, owner of Rostavia (created in 1998), who was arrested on May 28, 2010, during an operation by US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents in cooperation with Liberian police.

After his capture, he was secretly transported to the US, setting up the first time a Russian citizen was captured by US intelligence agencies in a third country. He was accused of organizing an international network of smuggling cocaine into the United States.

On July 19, 2020, Russia sent a note to the US State Department accusing US intelligence agencies of kidnapping and violating the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the bilateral consular convention. These documents state that member states must be informed about the arrest of their citizens in third countries.

US Secretary of State Philip Crowley later apologized, saying Russia was not notified due to a technical confusion. On September 7, 2011, Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He completely rejected all allegations, called his arrest a provocation and his criminal case fabricated.

the exchange

Months later, Russia submitted extradition requests for Yaroshenko, but those requests were denied. In 2019, Moscow offered to exchange Yaroshenko for US citizen Paul Whelan, convicted in Russia of spying, but there was no response.

Now, a prisoner exchange has been negotiated, where Russia will release American student Trevor Reed, who was convicted of assaulting police officers in August 2019 after drinking alcohol. The American citizen denied his guilt. A Moscow court found him guilty of violence against a representative of the authority and sentenced him to 9 years in penal colony and a fine.

About Abhishek Pratap

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