Elkin criticizes Russia: Outrageous conduct

Minister Ze'ev Elkin criticizes Russia's conduct in the case of Naama Issachar.

Ben Ariel ,

Ze'ev Elkin
Ze'ev Elkin
Photo: TPS

Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), who heads the Economic Commission for Coordination between Israel and Russia, spoke on Saturday night with the Israel Hayom newspaper and criticized Russia’s conduct in the case of Israeli citizen Naama Issachar.

"The punishment seems unreasonable and disproportionate to what she did. It is clear to everyone that the handling of the case was unfair and did not meet the standards set by the Russian legal system in similar cases in recent years. This is bullying of a young Israeli woman for totally different motives. I fear this case is not of a criminal-legal nature," said Elkin, a member of the security cabinet.

"The state has done and will continue to do everything it can to bring about Naama Issachar's release. But the keys are still in the hands of Russia," he added.

The Foreign Ministry issued an official statement before Shabbat, saying, "This is a disproportionately heavy punishment for a young Israeli woman with no criminal record who was on a connecting flight in Moscow on her way to Israel. Unfortunately, the Russian authorities have so far failed to respond to our pleadings to deal with the incident in congruence with her arrest."

On April 9, Naama Issachar boarded a flight from India on her way back to Israel. During a stop in Moscow, security officials detained her at the airport, after finding 9.5 grams of cannabis in her suitcase.

She was taken away for questioning 24 hours later, and on Friday was handed a 7.5-year prison sentence for drug smuggling. In recent months, Issachar has found herself being held as a pressure tactic on Israel to release Russian hacker Alexei Burkov, who is wanted for extradition by the United States.