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Putin appoints drug pilot Yaroshenko to Russia’s Public Chamber

President Vladimir Putin has appointed pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who had returned to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange with the US, into the Russian Public Chamber, according to a decree posted on Russia’s official legal information portal.

Putin's decree calls Yaroshenko a «human rights activist and public figure.”

On April 27, former US Marine Trevor Reed, jailed in Russia on charges of assaulting police, was exchanged for Yaroshenko. The latter's wife told The Insider that she learned of her husband's impending arrival an hour and a half before the reporter’s call.

Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko was detained in Liberia in 2010 on Washington’s request. In September 2011, Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the US on drug smuggling charges. According to prosecutors, Yaroshenko accepted an offer from US agents to transport cocaine from South America to Africa and, from there, to the United States. While incarcerated, Yaroshenko wrote a letter to US President Donald Trump asking that he be returned to Russia. In the letter, Yaroshenko claimed that he was serving an illegal and unjust sentence and expressed hope for “humanity and the understanding of his difficult situation.” In a letter to Tatyana Moskalkova, Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights, the pilot claimed that he had been tortured by US intelligence services.

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