'Naama Issachar fell victim to something unrelated'

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz comments on imprisonment of Naama Issachar in Russia.

Ben Ariel,

Yisrael Katz
Yisrael Katz
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) was interviewed on Saturday evening on Channel 12 News following the imprisonment of Israeli woman Naama Issachar in Russia.

"There are things that are unrelated to what she did," said Katz. "We are working on the issue as the State of Israel."

"She obviously fell victim to something unrelated to her," he added. Speaking about contacts on a deal for the young woman's release in exchange for an extradition of Alexei Burkov, a hacker who is imprisoned in Israel, to Russia, Katz said, "Formally, there is no connection between the two. There is a detailed American extradition request and the Supreme Court has approved it."

The minister also said, "Russia is acting like Russia. I am not disappointed by Putin because there is nothing to be disappointed about. We benefit greatly from the relationship with Putin."

"We will continue to take advantage of Netanyahu's good relationship with Putin. The good relationship has helped in many areas. And it helped in this case, too - the Prime Minister spoke to the Russian President twice. I am personally committed [to helping] and I intend to invite the family to a meeting so we can set a way for joint action. And we will do everything and we have to remember that the United States sought to extradite Burkov. Everyone understands that there are things in the background," added Katz.

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 Burkov.




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