Israeli Naama Issachar sentenced to "drug trafficking" in Russia obtains pardon

Naama Issachar, December 19, 2019, at a court hearing in Moscow.
Naama Issachar, December 19, 2019, at a court hearing in Moscow. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

After the diplomatic success of Benjamin Netanyahu's presentation of a "peace plan" in Washington that takes up most of his views, Moscow's release of Naama Issachar is second good news for the Israeli Prime Minister. One month before the legislative elections on March 2, he will also be able to exploit the wave of sympathy that the fate of this young woman sentenced in Russia for drug trafficking has aroused in Israel.

Naama Issachar, 26, obtained the pardon of Vladimir Poutine Wednesday January 29, a few hours before the arrival in Moscow of Mr. Netanyahu, arrived directly from Washington to explain to the Russian president the detail of the plan for the Middle East presented Tuesday by Donald Trump. In all likelihood, Mr. Netanyahu should return to Israel by taking his young compatriot in his luggage. As of Wednesday evening, he "Thanked" Mr. Putin for this pardon, taken according to the Kremlin press release for reasons "Humanitarian".

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Mme Issachar, who also has American nationality, will have spent more than nine months in prison in Russia, after his arrest at Sheremetyevo Airport in April 2019. The young tourist, who was traveling between India and Israel, was in transit through the Russian capital and had not crossed the border; 9.5 grams of cannabis had been found in his checked baggage. On October 11, she was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for " drug traffic ", causing a great stir in Israel and among Russian human rights defenders.

His release had little doubt since Naama Issachar had signed a request for pardon on Sunday, after initially refusing to do so. During his visit to Israel, during the commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz camp, the Russian head of state appeared in front of the cameras with the mother of Naama Issachar, promising that "Everything will be fine(It) well " for his daughter.

Diplomatic dossier

"She will still have spent nine months in prison, without reason or valid legal basis, reacted Wednesday evening to the World the young woman’s Russian lawyer, Vadim Kliouvgant saluting his courage. In the absence of the rule of law and a fair trial in Russia, we have had to rely on this grace and political action. "

The fate of Naama Issachar has in fact given rise to difficult and long negotiations between Tel Aviv and Moscow, turning into a diplomatic rather than a judicial file. In the opinion of many Russian and Israeli observers, the young woman was used as a currency, or even as "Hostage", according to the word used by his family.


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