Russian Panel to Consider Issachar Pardon Request

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu greets Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Yerushalayim. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

A panel to consider clemency for Naama Issachar, the Israeli woman sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for drug possession, is set to meet Monday to discuss the matter. Kan News quoted Russian media as saying that Issachar, who had filed the request Sunday, will have a chance to present her case to the panel.

The report quoted Yektarina Samnova, the Moscow District liaison for human rights, as saying that since Issachar was currently jailed in Moscow, her case falls under the jurisdiction of local authorities – who are part of the federal government, not local authorities. “The request for clemency will be considered by the panel. However, the decision of that panel is not relevant, as we will send the case to the office of the Presidency of the Russian Federation for further consideration,” she said.

That could open the window to the pardon that Issachar’s supporters in Israel are hoping for, with Russian President Vladimir Putin sending her home to Israel. Last week, Putin met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yaffa Issachar, mother of the detained Israeli. After the meeting, Putin said, “I told [Yaffa Issachar] and I will say it again – everything is going to be okay. It’s clear that Naama comes from a good family. I am familiar with the prime minister’s position” that Naama should be returned to Israel. “It’s also clear that her mother is very concerned and supportive of her daughter. We are taking everything into consideration.”

Issachar was several months ago sentenced to seven years in a Russian prison, on what many consider to be trumped-up drug charges. Issachar was arrested for carrying less than ten grams of cannabis in her luggage, nabbed by Russian police in the international transfer zone at Moscow’s airport en route from India to Israel.

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