(January 1, 2020 / JNS) Russian authorities confirmed on Monday that an Israeli-American woman imprisoned in Moscow on drug charges was moved to a prison far from the city without her family or lawyer having been notified.
Though Naama Issachar, 26, was moved on Friday, her family was only notified on Monday after the Israeli consulate in Moscow pressured Russian authorities to confirm her new location.
Issachar’s family said on Tuesday that she was not allowed to take any personal items with her, including any warm clothing, and that she is also unable to receive mail or visitors other than her lawyer, who is appealing against the relocation.
During a hearing last week in Moscow, Issachar said she had been forced to sign documents in Russian without understanding what they said, and that there were no interpreters present when she signed her confession.
She has been held in Russia since April after authorities found 9.5 grams of cannabis in her checked luggage on a connecting flight through Moscow on her way to Israel from India.
Issachar was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, causing many to question whether the heavy sentence was intended to pressure Israel into stopping the already approved extradition to the United States of Russian cyber-criminal Alexei Burkov.
Burkov, who was wanted in the United States on suspicion of hacking U.S. credit-card databases, was arrested during a visit to Israel in 2015. He was extradited to the United States in November.
In December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to personally ensure Issachar’s release.
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