STORY: Konstantin Yaroshenko was arrested by U.S. special forces in Liberia in 2010 and convicted for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States. He was serving a 20-year sentence.
He was released on Wednesday (April 28) in exchange for former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was convicted in Russia in 2019 of endangering the lives of two police officers while drunk on a visit to Moscow. The United States has called Reed's trial a "theatre of the absurd."
Flanked by his wife and daughter in the television studio of Russian media group Izvestia, Yaroshenko said he was sat on a chair with his arms shackled and beaten for three days.
Yaroshenko said he was then flown to a military base in the United States, asked to sign some documents and beaten when he refused.
He complained about the conditions of his incarceration in the United States, where he said prisons were overcrowded and unsanitary and prisoners were not given pillows.
Yaroshenko said he tried to glean information about the world from the 15 minutes a day of television he was allowed to watch but had found U.S. networks to be "a lying propaganda machine."
Yaroshenko said he had refused a plea deal because he was a patriot who had grown up believing that the West was Russia's enemy. He said he intended to prove his innocence and his mistreatment.