Russian parole commission recommends pardon for Israeli-American Naama Issachar

Jailed Israeli-American Naama Issachar scores win in bid for release, as Russian commission votes unanimously to back her pardon request.

Marcy Oster, JTA ,

Naama Issachar attends an appeal hearing
Naama Issachar attends an appeal hearing
Artyom Geodakyan/TASS /Getty Images

A Russian parole commission has recommended that Naama Issachar, an American-Israeli woman jailed in Russia for drug smuggling, be granted a pardon.

The commission on Monday voted unanimously to approve the official request by Issachar, who signed the formal request a day earlier, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported.

The pardon request now goes to President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to make a decision in the coming days.

Putin met last week in Israel with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, who both pressed him on a pardon for the 26-year-old woman who holds both Israeli and American citizenship. He also met with Issachar’s mother, Yaffa, and told her “everything will be all right.”

Issachar, 26, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison in October following her conviction for smuggling marijuana into the country. She had been detained since April after 9 grams (less than one-third of an ounce) of marijuana were found in her luggage at the airport in Moscow, where she was transiting from India to Israel.

She grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and returned to Israel with her parents when she was 16.