Published On: Thu, Jan 30th, 2020

Israeli woman convicted of drug trafficking but pardoned by Putin walks free from Russian prison

Originally facing over seven years behind bars for the illegal possession of drugs, Naama Issachar is going home after President Vladimir Putin pardoned her ahead of a visit by the Israeli premier.

Issachar was officially released from a Russian prison earlier on Thursday, Russia’s Federal Prison Service (FSIN) confirmed. The woman will return to Israel on the plane of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on a brief visit to Moscow, her lawyer said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin made the decision to pardon the Israeli-American for “humanitarian reasons,” news which was welcomed by her family. Issachar’s mother Yaffa thanked both Netanyahu “for his diplomatic determination and great efforts,” and Putin “for showing mercy,” as quoted by Jerusalem Post

Issachar was convicted on drug trafficking charges in October last year, and was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for carrying ten grams of hashish while flying from India to Israel via Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Issachar denied the charges, insisting that she was unaware of the drug’s presence in her bag and maintaining that she never actually bought it.

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FILE PHOTO. Naama Issachar.
Putin pardons drug-trafficking Israeli woman ahead of Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow

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