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U.S. Prosecutors Call Convicted Russian Pilot 'the Enemy'

U.S. prosecutors used unusually harsh words to comment on an appeal filed by defense lawyers for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced by a U.S. court last year to 20 years' imprisonment for drug smuggling, news reports said.

Alexei Tarasov, Yaroshenko's lawyer, said U.S. prosecutors had referred to Yaroshenko as "the enemy" in response to the appeal filed Thursday, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday.

"The prosecutor's office usually resorts to a milder definition of the opposing party," the lawyer said. "Here, however, it is immediately clear what developments can be expected and how the defense's actions are perceived."

Tarasov insisted that Yaroshenko's defense team had managed to find evidence of his client's innocence. He said the alleged collusion between Yaroshenko and purported Nigerian drug smuggler Chigbo Peter Umeh, on which the prosecutors built their case, could not have taken place because the two did not know each other.

Konstantin Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in a sting operation in 2010 on charges of preparing to transport a large consignment of cocaine to the U.S. He was subsequently brought to the U.S. and convicted in September 2011.

The Russian Justice Ministry sent a request to U.S. authorities for Yaroshenko's extradition in May 2012, the news agency said.

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