Rivlin requests clemency for Israeli with mental illness detained in Peru

Hodaya, 24, who is cognitively impaired, faces criminal charges of smuggling narcotics after she was found with 28 kg. of cocaine in her luggage.

Hodaya Monsonego (photo credit: COURTESY/MAARIV)
Hodaya Monsonego
(photo credit: COURTESY/MAARIV)
President Reuven Rivlin has called on the President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra, to grant clemency to Israeli citizen Hodaya Monsonego, who has been jailed there for almost half a year.
Hodaya, 24, who is cognitively impaired, faces criminal charges of smuggling narcotics after she was found with 28 kg. of cocaine in her luggage.
In his letter, Rivlin pointed out that Hodaya suffers from mental disabilities and has been diagnosed with limited cognitive ability, and that her judgment is therefore impaired.
In addition, he wrote that she has no previous criminal record and that it is reasonable to believe that her unique condition, as described in his letter, led her to unintentionally become involved in the matter.
The president requested that the authorities take into account her fragile condition, adding that Hodaya only speaks Hebrew and that she has found it difficult to communicate with her local lawyers.
“Taking into account these severe humanitarian circumstances, we are deeply concerned for Hodaya’s mental and physical safety, especially in light of her prolonged detention and distance from her family,” stressed the president in his letter.
“Under these unique circumstances, I would kindly appeal to your mercy and compassion with a request for your personal intervention to grant Ms. Hodaya Monsonego a pardon.”
Monsonego’s family claims that smugglers took advantage of her because of her cognitive impairment. Her family has said that she was accompanying a friend on a trip to South America and was helping take care of the friend’s children, aged eight and nine. Before their journey home, Monsonego needed to replace her damaged suitcase, so her friend bought one for her. According to Monsonego’s family, it was in this suitcase that the drugs were placed.

Zachary Keyser contributed to this report.