Moscow negotiating return of Russian nationals Bout and Yaroshenko jailed in US
The ombudswoman said she held a video conference with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic and raised this issue before herRussia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova© Sergei Bobylev/TASS
MOSCOW, June 24. /TASS/. The issue of returning Russian nationals Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko serving their prison terms in the United States is being discussed but the negotiating process is not yet over, Russia’s ombudswoman Tatiana Moskalkova said on Wednesday.
“The return of Yaroshenko and Bout [to Russia] is being discussed. The issue is being kept confidential as the negotiations have not been completed,” she said.
Russia’s ombudswoman said she was in contact with Yaroshenko’s lawyer and his relatives. “They asked us not to give details because this issue is still up in the air,” Moskalkova specified.
“We very much hope that this humanitarian mission will be carried through,” the ombudswoman said.
Moskalkova said she held a video conference with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic and raised this issue before her. The commissioner replied that things concerning the United States fell beyond her jurisdiction but in any case this issue would be raised, the ombudswoman informed.
Russia’s ombudswoman added that the issue related to journalists who were under pressure would also be raised.
The ombudswoman also drew attention to the problem of the Russian language in the former Soviet Baltic republics where schoolchildren were unable to continue their studies in Russian through video-conferencing amid the coronavirus pandemic, which, according to the official, was an act of discrimination.
“We very much hope that international institutions will support us and draw the public’s attention to the need to approach people humanely, mercifully and fairly,” Russia’s ombudswoman said.
At the same time, she declined to comment on whether the return of Bout and Yaroshenko was associated with their swap for US national Paul Whelan sentenced by the Moscow City Court on June 23 to 16 years in prison over charges of espionage.
“This issue was not discussed with me officially and so I cannot comment on it,” Russia’s ombudswoman said.