(January 15, 2020 / JNS) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov said on Tuesday that a prisoner-exchange deal for an Israeli-American woman being held in Russia on drug charges is not being considered.
“As far as I know, an exchange option is not being looked at,” he said, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.
“[Naama Issachar] was convicted on criminal charges,” he continued. “As for [Issachar’s] complaints with the European Court of Human Rights, it is the job of her attorneys. We can advise nothing about that. It is her right.”
The 27-year-old was arrested by Russian authorities after 9.5 grams of cannabis were found in her luggage during a layover in Moscow in April. She was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years for drug trafficking.
It is widely believed the heavy sentence may have been designed to pressure Israel into not extraditing a Russian cyber-criminal to the United States.
Ivanov’s comments come days after Israel released two Syrian prisoners in what analysts say was a goodwill gesture to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Sunday, Issachar received a letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who promised to do everything in his power to secure her release. “Our people have always been characterized by a heritage of mutual guarantee—we do not abandon anyone to his fate, and so it is in your case. The State of Israel and I are making constant efforts for your release,” he wrote.
The letter was sent just a week before Putin is slated to travel to Israel, with many hoping for a diplomatic breakthrough during the visit.
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
JNS is more than just another news website and syndication service. It is an organization devoted to nonstop reporting, and telling the truth about Israel and Jewish issues unburdened by the biases and institutional blinders that distort so much of what we read, hear and see about these topics elsewhere in the secular and even Jewish press.
At JNS, you get the facts about Israel and Jewish issues without the bias that so often tilts the argument against the Jewish state. JNS articles and columns are republished every week by digital outlets and print newspapers across the globe. But in the age of round-the-clock news coverage, advertising and syndication revenues are not enough to support our continued growth. We need your financial help to keep JNS on target as we continue our fair and accurate reporting.
Please help us take JNS to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.