The family of Pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year sentence in a US prison, hopes to visit him, but has no money to buy plane tickets yet, his wife Viktoria Yaroshenko told TASS on Tuesday.
Yaroshenko’s family, who lives in Rostov-on-Don, has not seen him for about seven years.
"We’ve got no money for a trip. [The visa] is valid for one year, but it is single entry. However, I don’t know if it will work out. A round trip ticket costs about $1,000, or maybe a little bit more. And it would cost about $2,000 to stay there. So, in total at least $3,000 would be required," Viktoria Yaroshenko concluded.
She added that the pilot is still not receiving the medical help he needs in prison.
The pilot’s wife earlier said that her husband was suffering from severe dental problems, which he had developed after being tortured in Liberia. Later, an official from the Russian Embassy in the US reported that Russian diplomats demanded that US authorities take measures to provide medical help to Yaroshenko.
The pilot’s attorney, Alexei Tarasov, earlier said that Yaroshenko’s family [his wife Viktoria and daughter Yekaterina] may come to visit him in August.
Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova earlier said that she would try to seek out a pardon for Yaroshenko in the run-up to the July 16 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump in Helsinki in response to the pilot’s letter where he complained of torture and bad prison conditions in the US penitentiary.
Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years behind bars in the US on September 7, 2011. He pled not guilty and believes that his arrest was a setup, and that his case was fabricated. The pilot was whisked off to the US from Liberia, where he had been arrested on May 28, 2010. US undercover agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration allegedly found Yaroshenko guilty of intending to smuggle a large batch of cocaine.
Until recently, Yaroshenko had been kept in the Federal Correctional Institution (Fort Dix), including one month spent in a solitary confinement cell. In mid-June, he was first transferred to a transit prison in the New York City borough of Brooklyn and then to a correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, which can hold more than 1,400 prisoners.