Russian pilot Yaroshenko speaks to RT after release from US jail
The pilot has endured prolonged torture, both physical and psychological, and is now seeking to hold Washington accountable
Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko returned home after spending some 10 years in a US prison over his alleged involvement in a drug smuggling scheme. Yaroshenko spoke to RT about the horrors he has endured.
“I was kidnapped by the US authorities, their intelligence, the DEA, and Liberia’s NSA on May 28, 2010 from a hotel and subsequently transferred to the NSA’s headquarters,” Yaroshenko said.
“There was a torture room where I was tortured for two-and-a-half days. It was inhuman torture, physical and psychological, with enormous pressure. At some point, I didn’t even want to live, to come to my senses, when I lost consciousness, I didn’t want to return back into this world,” he went on, adding that the agents who tortured him were very good at their ‘job’.
The torture was very brutal and very professional. They knew how to beat, where to beat, so that I would be alive, so that after all they could deal with me later. They beat me on the heels, knocked out my teeth, beat off my internal organs, broke the bones in my legsю
Liberia ultimately handed Yaroshenko over to US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and he was secretly transferred to the US. He ultimately received a 20-year jail term after a US court found him guilty of “conspiring to import cocaine into the United States.”
The torture and years in a US prison have taken a heavy toll on Yaroshenko, who said that only continuous support from his family and Russia have helped him endure these hardships.
“The faith in the Russian people, in the Russian government and the Russian president. Only this faith helped me to endure in this very difficult situation,” he said.
Yaroshenko was swapped on Wednesday for US national Trevor Reed, who ended up in Russian custody back in 2019. Reed, a student at the time and ex-US Marine, was detained in Moscow for drunk and disorderly behavior and an assault on police officers. In 2020, he was given a nine-year term after being found guilty of endangering the “life and health” of law enforcement personnel.
The Russian pilot has always maintained his innocence, stating that he merely got caught in the middle of a big political game against Russia.
“It was a pure set-up, a provocation needed only to reach the goals pursued by the American authorities,” Yaroshenko stated. “All the accusations against me are just a smokescreen to cover up the real goals that the US authorities were trying to achieve. In relation to me and in relation to, perhaps, other citizens like Viktor Bout.”
Bout is a Russian businessman, whose story shares striking similarities to Yaroshenko’s hardships. Bout was detained back in 2008 in Thailand on the request of US authorities and subsequently transferred to the US, where he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012 over his alleged involvement in a weapons smuggling plot.
Now, Yaroshenko is planning to try and bring the US and Liberian authorities to justice over the hardships he has endured and the systematic violation of basic human rights he witnessed.
“I will try to present all [the evidence], to prosecute the US government for its acts against me. The same [applies] to the government of Liberia,” he stated. Yaroshenko plans to begin the fight in Russian courts, as the international ones are “American puppets” just rubber-stamping Washington’s “orders,” he said.