MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. Israeli national Naama Issachar, convicted in Russia for drug smuggling, and her defense team will discuss filing a pardon appeal addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the next few days, the defense informed TASS in a statement.
"Over the next few days, the defense will discuss the statement made by Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov on the need for a personal pardon appeal addressed to the Russian president with Naama Issachar. In any case, this will be her personal decision, and we will make it known," the statement says.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that in accordance with the Russian law, Issachar must appeal for a pardon to be granted one. "We must follow some formalities to start this process," Peskov said.
Naama Issachar, an Israeli and US national, 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, Section 228 and Part 2, Section 229.1 of the Russian Criminal Code) and sentenced her to 7.5 years in a standard regime penal colony. The Moscow Regional Court upheld the verdict on December 19.
In October 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin asked Putin to pardon Issachar. On December 6, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that he had raised the issue at a meeting with Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov in Rome, expressing hope that the Russian president would consider the request to pardon the Israeli national.
During his visit to Jerusalem on January 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Issachar’s mother that "everything is going to be alright" regarding her daughter. "I have just met with Naama’s mother," the head of state said after the meeting. "It is clear to me that Naama comes from a very good and decent family. I am aware of the position of [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] who asks to make an appropriate decision. All that will certainly be taken into account when the final decision is made," Putin said.