Russian hacker: I'm also in prison because of political games

Russian hacker whose case has been linked to Naama Issachar's: I strengthen Naama and her family, I'm not a spy.

Tags: Hackers Russia
Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Prison (illustration)
Prison (illustration)

Russian hacker Alexei Burkov, who is imprisoned in Israel and whose case has been linked to the arrest of Israeli citizen Naama Issachar, spoke on Sunday with Channel 13 News from prison.

"I strengthen Naama and her family - me and my family are in the same situation. Like her, I am also held in prison as a result of political games,” said Burkov.

“I'm not a spy and I have nothing to do with the Russian interference in the US elections. The Russians never leave Russians behind, and that’s why they are fighting for me," he added.

Burkov was arrested about four years ago at the Ben Gurion Airport, after he was indicted for credit card fraud in the United States.

According to the indictment, between 2009 and 2013, he ran an underground website that sold data on some 150,000 credit cards, most of them belonging to American citizens.

According to the Americans, the damage caused by Burkov's actions is estimated at about $20 million.

While the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that Burkov may be extradited to the US, Russia has asked Israel not to extradite the hacker to the US. Many are linking the 7.5-year prison sentence imposed by the Russian court on Issachar with the Russian attempt to exert pressure on Israel to hand over the hacker to Russia.

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.

President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the case of Issachar.

“Naama made a grave mistake and has admitted her crime, but in the case of a young woman with no criminal record, the severe sentence handed down will have a deeply destructive impact on her life,” wrote Rivlin.

“The Jewish People and the State of Israel are grateful for your sensitivity to human life and for your willingness to endanger the lives of your soldiers to locate and return the body of IDF soldier Zachary Baumel, of blessed memory.”

“Because of the particular and individual circumstances of Naama Issachar’s case, I am appealing to your mercy and compassion with a request for your personal intervention to grant her an extraordinary pardon,” the President wrote.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)