RIYADH, October 14. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will be informed about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appeal to pardon Naama Issachar, a US-Israeli dual citizen, who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison in Russia on drugs smuggling charges, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
"We know that Mr. Netanyahu has sent such an appeal. As soon as it is received via diplomatic channels, it will be referred to and considered by the Russian president," he told journalists.
However he refrained from answering a question whether Putin and Netanyahu had ever looked into a possible exchange of Issachar for a Russian national. "I will leave it without comments. It is a subject of bilateral contact we never make public, unlike other countries," Peskov explained.
On October 11, the Khimki City Court in the Moscow Region sentenced Issachar to 7.5 years in a standard regime penal colony on the charges of drug possession and smuggling. Issachar, 25, was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on April 9 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. Issachar admitted her guilt of possessing the drug but denied smuggling charges.
The office of the Israeli prime minister said on Friday Netanyahu was keeping an eye on Issachar’s case and had discussed the matter with Putin during their meeting in Sochi on September 12 and over the phone on October 7.
On Sunday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wrote on his Twitter account he had also appealed to the Russian leader asking to pardon Issachar.