Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox patriarch asks Putin to release jailed Israeli woman

On October 11, Naama Issachar was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

By World Israel News Staff

Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Patriarch had petitioned for the release of Naama Issachar during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Yediot Ahronot reported.

According to the report, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III met with Naama’s mother before his meeting with Putin and promised to do what he can to secure her daughter’s release. He then personally delivered a message from the mother, seeking Issachar’s freedom, to the Russian president.

Yediot Ahronot also cited sources close to the Greek Church that said the patriarch has taken great interest in Issachar’s story.

In April, Issachar was heading back to Tel Aviv after a three-month vacation in India. She was arrested before her connecting flight in Moscow for possession of drugs after Russian authorities discovered 9.2 ounces of marijuana in her luggage.

Despite denying she knew anything of the drugs, Issachar was taken from the airport to a detention center in Moscow.

She was then charged with drug possession which often entails one month of detention, a fine and a ban on entering the country. However, shortly afterward, the public prosecutor changed the charge from drug possession to drug smuggling.

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On October 11, Issachar was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

A Russian media reported in October that Issachar is in “good health, learning Russian and practicing yoga with her fellow inmates”. However, Issachar’s mother and sister have decried this report as false, based on their own visits to the Russian prison where Issachar is being held.

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s direct appeals to Putin to free Issachar, the 26-year-old still languishes in jail.