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Vladimir Putin pardons Naama Issachar, whose prosecution on drug charges shook Russian-Israeli relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order pardoning Israeli citizen Naama Issachar, who was convicted on drug possession and contraband charges. Issachar was in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on a layover between Delhi and Tel Aviv when a dog found 9.6 grams of hashish in her checked luggage, to which she did not have access at the time.

Israeli news sources have reported that, in exchange for Issachar’s freedom, Israel would give Russia a compound in Jerusalem that was founded by Russian settlers in 1896. Those reports have not been officially confirmed.

Before Issachar was convicted, Russia offered to exchange her for Russian citizen Alexey Burkov, who was due to be extradited to the United States on credit card fraud charges. The Israeli government declined that offer because a court had already ordered Burkov’s extradition at the time.

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