Israel believes Russia imposed the harshest achievable sentence in order to use the lady as a bartering chip to convince the nation to release a Russian prisoner accused of embezzlement.
A Russian court has sentenced a US-Israeli lady to serve seven and a half years in jail on drug possession and smuggling charges. Primarily based on the severity of the sentence, a single could possibly assume that the lady was caught attempting to smuggle enormous quantities of cocaine into the nation, but in truth she was caught with much less than a half-ounce of weed.
Back in April, Russian police detained Naama Issachar, a 25-year-old with dual Israeli/US citizenship, just after discovering 9.six grams of cannabis in her bag. The young lady was traveling from New Delhi to Tel Aviv, and was only generating a layover in Russia. Soon after getting caught, Issachar admitted to owning the weed, but pleaded not guilty to the drug smuggling charge.
A easy drug possession charge would only outcome in a jail sentence of many months. But prosecutors pressed the drug smuggling charge, demanding a sentence of eight years. This Friday, the court agreed to adhere to the prosecutors’ guidance. Issachar, who has currently been in prison for the previous six months, was sentenced to yet another seven-and-a-half years in jail.
In a statement, Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated that it “gravely views the verdict” and condemns the “substantial and disproportionate” sentence provided to “a young Israeli lady with no criminal record,” Haaretz reports. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that he personally discussed Issachar’s case with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Soon after news of the sentencing broke, Netanyahu stated that he “highly appreciates President Putin’s willingness to dedicate time to the matter and hopes the efforts will bear fruit.”
Israeli officials think that Issachar was especially targeted by Russia due to her dual citizenship. Russian officials reached out to Israel to provide a prisoner swap, in which Issachar would be set no cost if Israel released Aleskey Burkov, a Russian IT specialist who was arrested in 2016 at the request of Interpol. In contrast to Issachar, Burkov was arrested for really serious crimes, getting allegedly fronted a credit card scam that stole millions of dollars from American customers.
Burkov is at the moment in the course of action of getting extradited to the US to face embezzlement charges. Netanyahu and Putin reportedly discussed a prisoner exchange deal, but Israel eventually decided against it, as the extradition course of action had currently begun. “Authorities in Israel told me that the deal is not on the table,” stated Issachar’s mother, Yaffa, to Haaretz.
Now that the deal is off the table, it is unclear irrespective of whether Issachar will have to devote the subsequent eight years of her life in a Russian prison. As of now, it appears like she does. On the other hand, Netanyahu’s workplace stated that they will “continue to exert each and every work to no cost [her] and return her to her family members,” The Moscow Occasions reports.
Issachar is not the only tourist to have been jailed for bringing weed into a Russian airport. In September, Russian police arrested an American college student for bringing a tiny quantity of health-related marijuana into the nation. The young lady has not but been sentenced, but she remains detained in prison till the trial date.