Naama Issachar requests pardon from Putin

“I will return your girl home,” Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly told Yaffa Issachar, Naama's mother.

Naama Issachar (photo credit: MAARIV)
Naama Issachar
(photo credit: MAARIV)
Naama Issachar officially requested a pardon on Sunday in hopes it would lead to her release from a Russian jail, where she is serving a 7.5-year sentence for cannabis possession.
During his trip to Israel last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally told Issachar’s mother, Yaffa, that her daughter would be freed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week it was impossible for Issachar to be granted a presidential pardon without her first formally requesting one.
On Sunday, her Russian defense team released the following statement:
“Today, we discussed with Naama Issachar the statement of the press secretary of the president of the Russian Federation D. Peskov that her pardon requires her personal application to the president.
“As a result of our discussion, Naama made a decision to address to the president of the Russian Federation with the motion for pardon and release, and such a motion has been already submitted by her in writing in the prescribed manner through the administration of the detention center in which she is located.”
The 26-year-old yoga teacher was arrested in April during a stopover in a Moscow airport while en route to Tel Aviv from India.
She was taken into custody at the gate to her flight after Russian authorities found 9.5 grams of cannabis in her stowed luggage.
Israelis widely believe she is a diplomatic hostage, who is either innocent or given an unusually harsh sentence so Moscow could demand a high price from Israel for her release.
Issachar has claimed she is innocent of all charges, which included smuggling. Russia has demanded she formally request a pardon from Putin before it will make good on its pledge to release her.
Her mother has temporarily moved to Moscow to work on securing her release. Yaffa was back in Israel last week to meet with Putin.
Yaffa reported that Putin told her, “I will return your girl home,” but he did not say when. She described the Russian leader as charming and down to earth.
Netanyahu also asked Putin for a humanitarian pardon for the woman.