Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Putin pardons drug smuggler



Putin pardons drug smuggler

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Putin (right) met with met Issachar’s mother Yaffa Issachar during a visit to Jerusalem. AFP

Putin pardons drug smuggler

Russia's prison service said on Thursday that a US-Israeli woman jailed for drug trafficking has been freed from prison after President Vladimir Putin pardoned her.

Putin pardoned Naama Issachar on Wednesday evening ahead of a Thursday visit to Moscow by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Due to the presidential decree on pardoning, Naama Issachar has been freed from prison,” the prison service said in a statement.

Issachar, 26, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in April last year while she was in the transit zone en route from India to Israel.

Russian authorities said they found 9g of cannabis in her checked luggage and she was sentenced in October to seven and a half years in prison.

“Guided by the principles of humanity, I pardon Naama Issachar,” Putin said in a decree cited by the Kremlin.

The young woman’s fate had sparked a wave of sympathy in Israel where Netanyahu had pledged to do everything for her release.

Her mother Yaffa Issachar told Israeli media in Russia that her daughter was “out, in a car”.

“Finally, thank God, thanks to everyone,” she was quoted as saying.

The Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported that the freed woman would return to Israel on Thursday in Netanyahu’s plane.

Last month, Issachar lost an appeal against her sentence, which Netanyahu has described as disproportionate.

‘Mercy and compassion’

During the appeal hearing, Issachar had proclaimed her innocence, denouncing the charges against her as absurd.

She was imprisoned in a penal colony in the Moscow region. After initially refusing to appeal to Putin, on Sunday she signed a request to him for a pardon.

When travelling to Israel last week for commemorations for the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz 75 years ago, Putin appeared before the cameras with Issachar’s mother and Netanyahu.

The Israeli foreign ministry had called the verdict “harsh and disproportionate” and President Reuven Rivlin had appealed to Putin’s “mercy and compassion” when asking him to intervene in the case.

Netanyahu on Thursday was to discuss US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan with Putin.

Netanyahu, who has highlighted his personal bond with Trump, stood alongside him at the White House when the peace plan was announced on Tuesday and called it a victory for Israel.

It remains to be seen how much Issachar’s release and Netanyahu’s visit to Washington boost his re-election chances.

Analysts said the details of Trump’s plan could offer political benefits to Netanyahu, delighting rightwing voters with calls for the annexation of West Bank settlements and possibly appeasing some on the left with nominal support for a Palestinian state.

Russia said it would study Trump’s plan and called on Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate directly to find a “mutually acceptable compromise”.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Aeon, Micromax partner again for third mall

    AEON Mall (Cambodia) Co Ltd and a locally-owned Micromax Co Ltd have entered into a partnership agreement to develop fibre optic infrastructure for $200 million Aeon Mall 3, which is expected to be opened in 2023. The agreement was signed on June 20 between Masayuki Tsuboya, managing director of

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and