Vladimir Putin has appointed pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, sentenced to 20 years in prison in the United States for drug trafficking, to the Public Council of the Russian Federation. In the presidential decree he was defined as a “defender of human rights and a public figure”.
Konstantin Yaroshenko was engaged in the transportation of passengers and goods in Africa. In 2010 he was arrested in Liberia and extradited to the United States. According to the investigation, he planned to deliver several tons of cocaine from Latin America to the United States via Liberia.
Yaroshenko pleaded not guilty but was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2011 after being found guilty of conspiring to smuggle drugs. At the end of April this year he was exchanged with the American student Trevor Reed, sentenced to 9 years in Russia for an attack on militiamen.
In May of this year, Yaroshenko announced that he intends to engage in public activities. “My state of mind right now is to give all my knowledge and skills to the benefit of Russian public life. To show Americans that they are wrong,” he said.
Currently, Russia and the United States are also negotiating the exchange of other prisoners. Joe Biden proposed in July “merchant of death” Victor Booth, permanently linked to the arms trade in Bulgaria, for Paul Whelan, arrested for espionage, and Olympic champion Brittney Greiner, who is behind bars for drug use.