Russia sentences U.S.-Israeli woman to 7.5 years for marijuana

The Man

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Jul 2011
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Naama Issachar


A Russian court has sentenced a U.S.-Israeli woman to seven and a half years in prison on charges of drug possession and smuggling, her lawyer told Russian media Friday.

Police detained Naama Issachar, 25, in April while in transit in a Moscow airport and accused her of having 9 grams of cannabis in her bag, Israeli officials and Russian media have said. She had been flying from New Delhi to Tel Aviv.

ssachar pleaded not guilty to the drug smuggling charges but didn't deny that the cannabis in her bag was hers, the Mediazona news website reported.

Prosecutors had requested that she be sentenced to eight years.

Israel condemned the Russian court's sentencing as "heavy" and "disproportionate," saying Moscow had ignored its appeals to handle the case differently and that Issachar had no criminal record when she was detained.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to secure Issachar's release, his office said earlier Friday.

Netanyahu has twice discussed her case with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israel will "continue to exert every effort to free (her) and return her to her family," it said in a statement.

Russia's state-run RT media channel suggested on Thursday that Issachar might be released if Israel frees Alexei Burkov, a Russian national it detained in 2015. Israel said the United States wanted to extradite Burkov for suspected cybercrimes.

But the statement issued by Netanyahu's office ruled out any such prisoner swap.

Prisoner swap angle is fascinating...

She is not the only one in this situation; in September, another US woman, a college student, was also arrested in Russia for weed possession; she apparently thought her American medical marijuana card was valid there; she got off on a fine though: New York college student jailed for medical marijuana in Russia is freed

Lesson here, know the laws of the place where you are travelling...
 

HCProf

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I know better to try and transport weed to another Country. Not even to Mexico. When we used to travel to Mexico and wanted a little weed, a bartender at a resort is more than happy to accommodate once you are in Country. That is quite the prison sentence for about 8 joints.
 

The Man

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Jul 2011
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I know better to try and transport weed to another Country. Not even to Mexico. When we used to travel to Mexico and wanted a little weed, a bartender at a resort is more than happy to accommodate once you are in Country. That is quite the prison sentence for about 8 joints.
Vietnam, for example, has really harsh drug laws. I recall reading about a Russian woman sentenced to LIFE behind bars for drug trafficking there. And China has put a Canadian citizen on death row for similar offense too (though that one is more political crap, after the Huawei lady's detention here...)

Yeah, as I said, always best to study the laws and such in advance, wherever you are heading...
 
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I know better to try and transport weed to another Country. Not even to Mexico. When we used to travel to Mexico and wanted a little weed, a bartender at a resort is more than happy to accommodate once you are in Country. That is quite the prison sentence for about 8 joints.
Have you read of the punishment for drinking and driving in some nations?

Wow.
 
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The Man

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She is going to be very popular in prison.
I have a feeling that exchange will happen, so she won't spend so much time behind bars either. She is not exactly a regular person either, a veteran of IDF with two passports. Very likely some kind of spy too. No wonder they picked her...
 
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I have a feeling that exchange will happen, so she won't spend so much time behind bars either. She is not exactly a regular person either, a veteran of IDF with two passports. Very likely some kind of spy too. No wonder they picked her...
The Russian guy is probably a spy but she seems more like a pawn they are using to get him back. As somewhat of an expert on the spy game most of them are not 25 nor do they fly around with pot on them.
 

The Man

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to pardon an American-Israeli woman sentenced to 7-1/2 years in jail for a few grams of cannabis found in her luggage at a Moscow airport.

Naama Issachar’s case has opened up an unusually public rift between Israel and Russia. Her family says the New Jersey-born woman is being punished disproportionately to pressure Israel into freeing a Russian held in Israel on a U.S. extradition request.

Issachar was arrested in April after Russian police discovered 9 grams (0.3 oz) of cannabis in her bags during a layover in flights from India to Israel.

On Friday, a Russian court handed down a 7-1/2-year sentence for drug smuggling.

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesman for Netanyahu said the prime minister, along with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, jointly sent an official request to Putin to pardon Issachar and repatriate her to Israel.

Netanyahu has highlighted, in two inconclusive Israeli elections this year, what he has described as his close relationship with both Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Issachar’s case has sparked public interest in Israel, especially since Moscow airport is a popular transit hub for Israeli backpackers, like the jailed 26-year-old, visiting India and southeast Asia.

Writing on Twitter on Friday, Rivlin said Issachar had “made a grave mistake and has admitted her crime,” and asked the Russian leader for his “personal intervention to grant her an extraordinary pardon.”

After Rivlin’s appeal was announced, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin would consider the request once it was received via diplomatic channels.

Issachar’s family accuses Russia of punishing her after failing to swap her for Alexei Burkov, a Russian national detained by Israel during a 2015 visit. Israel says he is wanted by the United States for suspected cyber offences.

Netanyahu has appeared to rule out any such exchange, saying Israel’s Supreme Court had approved Burkov’s extradition to the United States.

Israeli and U.S. officials would not disclose further details of Burkov’s suspected crimes and his lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Israeli newspaper Globes said Burkov had been indicted in 2015 by the state of Virginia for running an internet credit card scam and was arrested in December of that year at the Israeli international airport where he arrived as a tourist.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel has not commented on the Burkov or Issachar cases.