Naama Issachar's appeal trial begins – will she be released?

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he instructed his office to emphasize the Israeli expectation that Issachar will “quickly be returned… to her family.”

Naama Issachar, who was arrested by Russia and given seven-and-a-half years in prison for carrying cannabis. (photo credit: COURTESY OF FAMILY)
Naama Issachar, who was arrested by Russia and given seven-and-a-half years in prison for carrying cannabis.
(photo credit: COURTESY OF FAMILY)
The court appeal of Naama Issachar – imprisoned in Russia over drug trafficking charges  – on her original seven-and-a-half-year imprisonment – began on Thursday, as the Russian court is set to decide whether Issachar's original sentence will be reversed.
Issachar's appeal was set to be discussed last week, but was postponed by the Russian authorities.
She reportedly appeared in court behind a glass partition. She was not allowed to be present in court in the precious appeal hearing that was eventually postponed.
Israeli delegation members are expected to present to their Russian colleagues the legal situation of Issachar at an upcoming Consul-Dialogue meeting on Thursday.
The meeting will also address the issue of the forty-six Israelis who were detained for several hours on Wednesday while attempting to visit Russia, despite both nations having a visa-waiver agreement.
The dialogue is an annual event meant to introduce various issues that should be addressed to ensure that good relations between the nations are maintained.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he instructed his office to emphasize the Israeli expectation that Issachar will “quickly be returned…to her family” and that “Israel places great importance on its relations with Russia.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while saying he is "no magician," vowed to bring the young woman "back home" while speaking publicly during a Likud rally on Wednesday. Sources close to Netanyahu said that discussions on the matter are ongoing and that he is committed to that goal.
Channel 12 news reported that other sources argue that by putting the Russians on the spot – meaning, should they pardon the young Israeli, they will be seen as helping Netanyahu to fulfill a public campaign promise – Netanyahu might have made a mistake.
"The Russians are used to reaching understandings in private," the report claimed, "not to saying things to the media."
On Thursday, a Russian court is meant to hear an appeal by the lawyers who represent Issachar. The young woman is being held in a Russian prison after being convicted of smuggling 10 grams of cannabis into Russia. Her legal defense claims that, seeing as it was in her luggage on a return flight from India to Israel that only passed via Moscow, and that she was unable to access it, the conviction is not reasonable.
  Issachar has been in Russian prison since April.