Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will officially request on Tuesday that Russia release Naama Issachar, 26, an Israeli woman who was sentenced to a seven-and-a-half year prison term last week after authorities said that they had found about 9.5 grams of cannabis in her luggage on a stopover in Moscow in April, as she was on her way back home to Israel from India.
Issachar argues that the drug was not hers and that she does not know how it wound up in her baggage.
Netanyahu will officially submit a request to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, according to Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a confidant of the prime minister, speaking in an interview on Israeli Kan public radio.
Israel Hayom daily has reported that the situation has become more complicated as “reports emerged that Putin requested a swap deal involving Naama and Russian hacker Alexei Borkov, who has been detained in Israel for the past four years and is wanted by the United States for suspected cyber offenses”.
In August, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled Borkov extraditable to the U.S., in spite of his request that he be extradited to Moscow rather than Washington. Borkov was arrested at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport on Dec. 13, 2015, at the request of the American government.