Russian President Vladimir Putin has pardoned Naama Issachar, an Israeli woman convicted on drug trafficking charges in Russia, citing “humanitarian reasons.” Issachar is expected to return to Israel shortly.
The decision to pardon Issachar came ahead of a visit by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who is set to meet Putin in Moscow on Thursday. According to media reports, Netanyahu is expected to bring the woman back home on his plane after his visit to Russia concludes.
Issachar, a 26-year-old Israeli-American citizen, was nabbed by Russian law enforcement in April 2019 in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. The woman, who was traveling from India to Israel, was caught when a sniffer dog discovered that she happened to have some 10 grams of hashish in her luggage.
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The woman was convicted on drug trafficking charges in October and received a sentence of 7.5 years behind bars in a Russian prison. Issachar, however, denied all the charges, insisting that she was unaware of the illicit substance’s presence in her bag and that she never actually bought it.
Back in Israel, Issachar’s case triggered a massive campaign of support, with thousands donating money to fund her lawyer, while her family called upon the Israeli government to facilitate her release.
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