Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)
Naama Issachar's mother, Sara and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Jerusalem, January 23, 2020.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has assured the mother of Israeli national Naama Issachar convicted in Russia on drug smuggling charges that “everything is going to be fine,” TASS reported on Thursday.

We figured since everybody else is covering this story from an Israeli point of view, let’s see the Russian take. So here’s the TASS report, unadulterated:

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Putin noted that “Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova will visit Naama today. Her mother is very much concerned, I can see that. I told her, and I want to repeat now that everything is going to be fine.”

In response to that, Yaffa Issachar shook Putin’s hand and thanked him in English.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that Putin had met with Yaffa Issachar and Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem.

(Now the background copy, all TASS)

Naama Issachar was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on April 9, 2019, when she was in the airport’s transit zone before boarding a connecting flight to Tel Aviv after arriving from New Delhi. The airport’s security guards found 9.6 grams of cannabis in her luggage.

On October 11, 2019, the Khimki City Court in the Moscow Region found Issachar guilty of drug possession and smuggling (Part 1, Section 228 and Part 2, Section 229.1 of the Russian Criminal Code) and sentenced her to 7.5 years in a standard regime penal colony. The Moscow Regional Court upheld the verdict on December 19.

(You’ll note there’s no note of astonishment in the TASS report over the disproportionately harsh sentence.)

In October 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin asked Putin to pardon Issachar. On December 6, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that he had raised the issue at a meeting with Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov in Rome, expressing the hope that the Russian president would consider the request to pardon the Israeli national.

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