A lawyer for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year sentence in a U.S. prison for drug smuggling, says his client has signed a form authorizing his extradition to Russia.
Lawyer Aleksei Tarasov told TASS on September 27 that U.S. authorities asked Yaroshenko to sign the document as part of the formal procedure of extradition. The same day the Izvestia newspaper published comments from Yaroshenko himself saying that he had signed the form on September 12.
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in 2010 and rendered to the United States. The following year, he was convicted of smuggling cocaine to destinations in South America, Africa, and Europe.
Russia has strongly protested Yaroshenko's arrest and his rendition to the United States, saying that he was "kidnapped" and describing the process as "open lawlessness."
Another lawyer for Yakovenko claimed in 2010 that his client had been kept bound and naked in a Liberian hotel for two days without water.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Dolgov said on September 27 the latest development in the case "fits within the activity we are continuing to ensure an early return of Konstantin Yaroshenko to his homeland" under the Council of Europe's 1983 Strasbourg Convention.