MOSCOW, January 26. /TASS/. Israeli and US national Naama Issachar, who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison in Russia on drugs smuggling charges, has filed a plea for pardoning and the soonest release from the penitentiary colony, her defense attorneys said on Sunday.
"Today, we discussed with Naama Issachar Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov’s statement that her personal plea to the president is needed to pardon her. After our conversation, Naama decided to appeal to the Russian president for pardoning in line with the established procedure, via the administration of the pre-trial detention facility she is being kept in," they said in a press statement.
"Naama, her family and defense attorneys hope that the Russian president will soon take a decision on her pardoning and release in accordance with his constitutional powers," the statement says.
Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that under Russian laws a personal plea for mercy is an obligatory procedure. "We must follow some formalities to start this process," he stressed.
Naama Issachar, 25, was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on April 9, 2019 when she was in the airport’s transit zone before boarding a connecting flight to Tel Aviv after arriving from New Delhi. The airport’s security guards found 9.6 grams of cannabis in her luggage.
On October 11, 2019, the Khimki City Court in the Moscow region found Issachar guilty of drug possession and smuggling (part 1, Article 228 and part 2, Article 229.1 of the Russian Criminal Code) and sentenced her to 7.5 years in a standard regime penal colony. Issachar admitted her guilt of possessing the drug but denied smuggling charges, saying she had no access to her luggage checked in for the transit flight. She claimed she never took drugs and had no idea of how the cannabis could happen to be in her backpack. Moscow’s region court upheld the verdict on December 19.