Naama Issachar, jailed for nearly 10 months in Moscow, headed back to Israel with her mother aboard the prime minister’s plane.
By World Israel News Staff
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara met Naama Issachar at the Moscow airport together with her mother Yaffa on Thursday. “It is very moving to see you. Now we return home,” the Prime Minister said.
Naama had been freed by a presidential pardon signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It has been a long journey that I would not wish upon anyone,” Yaffa said, The Jerusalem Post reported. “Now, all I want is to hug my daughter Naama.”
Putin credited Naama’s mother with helping in her release. On a visit to Israel last week, Putin met with Issachar’s mother and told her, “Everything will be alright.” Putin’s decree followed Issachar’s petition for a pardon.
“Much is thanks to meeting her mother. The order was signed, she’s lucky the drugs were in the baggage. Remember that drugs were found in her bag but I wish her good luck. I wish all the best for Naama and her family.”
At a meeting earlier in the day with the Russian president, Netanyahu said, “I would like to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel for your quick decision to give a pardon to Naama Issachar. This moves all of us and our gratitude is on behalf of all Israeli citizens, from the heart.”
Netanyahu also expressed hope for a stronger Israeli-Russian relationship in the future. “I think that a new and perhaps unique opportunity has been created here, and, I would like to discuss with you and hear from you, of course, your understandings and to see how we can integrate all forces on behalf of security and peace.”
Naama had spent nearly 10 months in a Moscow prison, arrested in April 2019 and charged with drug dealing. She was then sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison – a verdict widely reviled in the press given the details of the case, particularly the small amount of marijuana found in her checked-on luggage. She denied having put it there.