MOSCOW, February 19 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova has asked Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Mark S. Inch for checking prison conditions of pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year sentence in the U.S. for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine, and protection of his rights, the ombudsman’s press office has told RAPSI.

According to the request directed to Inch, Moskalkova is concerned about tightening of Yaroshenko’s conditions of serving the sentence. In particular, the pilot has been prohibited from buying food and medicine.  Moreover, the number of visits and walks will be limited for Yaroshenko in March 2018.

Toughening of prison conditions contradicts both international standards set for penitentiary institutions and operational policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Russia’s ombudsman stated.

Konstantin Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia on May 28, 2010 and flown to the United States soon afterwards. On September 7, 2011, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for colluding to smuggle cocaine into the United States. He was caught after replying to an advertisement posted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who claimed they were selling a cargo plane for $1.

He is serving time in the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey.

In May 2016, a U.S. court dismissed his appeal for a retrial. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said this is evidence that Yaroshenko’s conviction was politically influenced.

It was reported in February 2014 that Yaroshenko experienced strong migraine headaches and heart pain, which could be symptoms of a possible heart attack. Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern over the pilot’s health and pledged to continue working to ensure respect of his rights in the United States.