Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90
The border fence between Israel and Syria in the southern Golan Heights, July 29, 2018.

The Nazareth Magistrates Court sentenced a young woman who crossed into Syria illegally and was returned to Israel earlier this year to eight months in prison on Monday.

In February, Syrian authorities took the 25-year-old resident of Modi’in Illit, who had reportedly been suffering from mental-health issues, to a detention center in Damascus and questioned her for 16 days after she snuck across the border from Israel. She was then taken to Moscow.

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She was released after Israel reportedly agreed to pay $1 million for Russian coronavirus vaccine doses to be delivered to Syria.

The woman’s public defense lawyers said in a statement on Wednesday that the court had “accepted our arguments that the woman’s unique circumstances had to be taken into consideration, and sentenced her to a moderate and proportionate sentence. We hope that she can place the incident behind her and that upon her release, she will be able to open a new chapter.”

In May, Israel’s Kan news reported that the woman had escaped a mental-health center operated by the Welfare Ministry, where she had been staying. She was subsequently found in a Bedouin community in the Negev region of southern Israel.

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