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Russia not planning to exchange convicted Israeli woman — senior diplomat

The Israeli was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison in Russia on drugs smuggling charges

MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. Moscow is not looking at possible exchange of Israeli national Naama Issachar, who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison in Russia on drugs smuggling charges, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov said on Tuesday.

"As far as I know, an exchange option is not being looked at," he stated.

"She was convicted on criminal charges. As for [Issachar’s] complaints with the European Court of Human Rights, it is the job of her attorneys. We can advise nothing about that. It is her right," he said.

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 Regional Court upheld the verdict on December 19.