Russia demands access to Russian drug smuggler in US jail
In a statement late on Friday, the Foreign Ministry said a Russian doctor should examine Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot serving 20 years for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States whose health has been worsening, according to his lawyer.
The countries are already at odds on numerous issues including Syria, Russia's crackdown on internal dissent, U.S. missile defence, Ukraine, and Russia's decision to shelter Edward Snowden, source of numerous revelations on U.S. electronic surveillance.
Yaroshenko's lawyer, Alexei Tarasov, told the Russia Today state TV channel that his client had experienced symptoms of a heart attack, but was not being helped. He said Yaroshenko had told him he might not live through the weekend.
"We have repeatedly drawn attention to the worsening of his chronic illnesses that resulted from the torture and abuse he suffered during his arrest."
HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS
The U.S. embassy said it could not discuss Yaroshenko's case unless he signed a privacy waiver.
"The United States is committed to meeting its obligations under both international and domestic law for proper treatments of persons detained or incarcerated in the criminal justice system, including the provision of adequate medical care," a spokesman said in a statement.
He said that in the meeting, the U.S. diplomat had raised concerns about human rights in Russia, notably the jailing of political protesters and of an environmental activist who had investigated abuses in the preparations for the Sochi Winter Olympics.
"At the meeting, we also raised concerns with children caught up in the ban on American adoptions and the recent order signed by (Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev) banning adoptions by single parents from countries where same-sex marriages are permitted."
The adoption ban was part of Russia's response to the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which subjects Russian officials implicated in the death of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky to visa bans and asset freezes in the United States.
CALL FOR EXTRADITION
Magnitsky died in suspicious circumstances in his jail cell in 2009, just before he was due to be released.
The embassy spokesman said that the U.S. ensured consular access for jailed foreigners, adding: "Russian consular officials have visited Mr. Yaroshenko a number of times, most recently in January."
Yaroshenko was arrested by U.S. special forces in the Liberian capital Monrovia in May 2010 and convicted in 2011. An appeal was rejected last year.
Bout, who was extradited from Thailand to the United States in November 2010, is serving 25 years for conspiring to kill Americans and to provide help to a group deemed a terrorist organisation by the United States. (Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)