Israeli Woman Released from Belorussian Prison


An Israeli woman who was imprisoned in Belarus on possession of cannabis last month was released back to Israel on Thursday following intensive efforts on her behalf by senior Israeli officials.

Maya Reiten, a lawyer, was arrested on November 4 at the airport in Minsk with 2.5 grams of cannabis in her bag. She reportedly had authorization from the Israeli Health Ministry to use it for a medical condition, but Belorussian authorities refused to accept it.

Relatives of Reiten said she was being held in harsh conditions at the notorious Pishchalauski Castle prison, a pre-trial detention center and where political activists are detained.

Reiten wrote in a letter that her cell was just 12 square meters (129 square feet) in size and she shared it with three other women who only spoke Russian. She was not allowed out of her cell, except for one and a half hours in the cold outside, according to the Times of Israel. She said that she did not know how long she would survive there, and implored Israeli officials to get her out.

President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman were reportedly involved in the contacts with Belorussian officials to secure her release.

She was on her way back home as of Thursday night.

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