On Wednesday, Russia President Vladimir Putin pardoned Naama Issachar who was arrested in April last year after more than nine grams of marijuana was found in her luggage. As a result, she was sentenced by a Russian court for more than seven years in prison. Naama will finally be able to go home after the pardon by Putin.
The decision by Putin came just ahead of the visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which was aimed at discussing the recently released two-nation theory by US President Donald Trump and to take back Naama Issachar. Netanyahu in a statement thanked his 'good friend' Putin for his decision to pardon 26-year-old Issachar. After being released, Naama met with Netanyahu and his wife.
Naama Issachar and her mother returned back to Israel on the Prime Minister's plane. Yaffa Issachar, Naama Issachar's mother said that finally, her daughter could return home. Local media outlets also reported that the Israeli government was willing to relinquish ownership of a complex in Jerusalem which has symbolic importance to the Russian Orthodox Church. This was intended to be a goodwill gesture in anticipation of Issachar's release.
The case had gained widespread attention in Israel during her arrest. It was strongly believed in Israel, according to reports, that Moscow was trying to use Issachar's arrest as political leverage.
Issachar was caught in a three-way diplomatic tussle between Israel, Russia and the United States. Aleksey Burkor is an IT specialist that was wanted in the US for hacking and credit card fraud. Burkov was arrested in Israel in 2015 as he was leaving the country. There were talks about a prisoner swap between Burkov and Issachar but Burkon was extradited to the US last November.