Yuri Ushakov, a Russian diplomat who serves as aide to President Vladimir Putin, on Monday evening confirmed that Putin had discussed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the case of Naama Issachar, 26, an Israeli national who is serving seven-and-a-half years in Russian prison for possession and smuggling of 9.5 grams of cannabis (see: Netanyahu Requests Pardon for Naama Issachar from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin).
“This issue has been in the public eye, and it has been discussed to a certain extent,” Ushakov said.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier on Monday that if the Israeli government addresses Moscow with a request regarding Issachar, the Russian president would consider it.
Netanyahu sent Putin a formal pardon request for Issachar on behalf of himself and President Reuven Rivlin.
Issachar was arrested on April 9 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport while in the airport transit zone before boarding a connecting flight to Tel Aviv after her arrival from New Delhi. A sniffing dog tracked her luggage and airport security personnel found 9.6 grams of cannabis. On October 11, the Khimki City Court sentenced Issachar to seven-and-a-half years in a “standard regime penal colony.”
President Putin also called Netanyahu, according to the Kremlin press service, to congratulate him on his 70th birthday, as well as discuss the situation in Syria and other key bilateral issues.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also called Netanyahu to congratulate him on his 70th birthday and to discuss cooperation between Russia and Israel, the press service of the Russian Cabinet of Ministers reported.