Putin pardons Naama Issachar ahead of Netanyahu meeting

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pardoned an Israeli woman jailed in Russia on drug charges, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

By Associated Press

The Kremlin announced on Wednesday that Russian leader Vladimir Putin signed the pardon to free Israeli Naama Issachar from a lengthy prison sentence handed down over alleged possession of a small amount of contraband.

The Kremlin said a presidential decree pardoning Naama Issachar on “humanitarian principles” was effective immediately.

The 26-year-old backpacker was arrested in April at a Moscow airport, where she was transferring en route from India to Israel.

Russian authorities claimed 9.5 grams of hashish were found in her luggage. She was convicted and sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had appealed to Putin to pardon Issachar.

On a visit to Israel last week, Putin met with Issachar’s mother and told her, “Everything will be alright.”

Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Russia for a meeting with Putin on Thursday.