Putin Pardons Naama Isaachar, To Fly Home with Netanyahu Thursday

YERUSHALAYIM -
naama issachar
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Wednesday. (Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to pardon Naama Issachar, a U.S.-Israeli woman jailed in Russia on drug charges, RIA state news agency reported on Wednesday, citing a Kremlin statement.

She will fly back to Israel with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he departs from Russia on Thursday, according to Arutz Sheva.

Netanyahu released a statement on Wednesday night, saying: “I thank my friend President Putin for granting a pardon to Naama Issachar.

“I am looking forward to our meeting tomorrow, at which we will discuss the Deal of the Century and the latest developments in the region.”

The news culminates months of efforts on the part of Israeli leaders, Issachar’s family and lawyers, along with widespread public support for her release.

Earlier this week, Issachar submitted a formal request for a presidential pardon, which was than approved by a Russian review panel.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz praised Netanyahu “for his determined efforts for the return of Naama by using his close ties with Russian President Putin and good bilateral ties.”

He also commended Israel’s diplomatic corps for their contributions to the happy ending.

“The release was a gesture by President Putin to the prime minister [Netanyahu],” a senior Israeli source was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, hours before Netanyahu was to board a flight to Moscow.

“There was no deal with Russia,” he said, apparently referring to media reports that Israel had agreed to turn over a church property in Yerushalayim to Russia in exchange for the pardon.

Naama’s mother Yaffa said, “I’ve been waiting for this moment for almost a year. It’s been a long journey that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. At this moment what I want to do more than anything is to hug my daughter.

“With all my heart I want to thank Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his political determination and the great lengths he went to with the Russian government.

“I also want to thank the Russian President Vladimir Putin for the compassion he showed my daughter and for accepting my daughter Naama’s request to return home,” she said.

Earlier this week, Issachar submitted a formal request for a presidential pardon, which was than approved by a Russian review panel.


Updated Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 1:35 pm add info

Updated Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 2:19 pm add info