Naama Issachar
Naama Issachar Courtesy of the family

Israel and Russia held negotiations regarding prisoner swaps in order to free Naama Issachar, an Israeli woman who has been imprisoned in Russia for over six months.

Issachar was arrested at a Moscow airport after she was found to have nine grams of marijuana in her bag. At the time of her arrest, she was on her way back to Israel from India, and had stopped in Moscow to catch her connecting flight.

On Friday, the Moscow court was asked to sentence her to seven years in prison.

The Russians secretly moved Issachar to a prison outside Moscow, and demanded Israel hand over Alexei Borokav, who was arrested in Israel in 2016 and is now in the process of being extradited to the US on suspicion of serious cyber crimes against it.

An Israeli source confirmed that Israel refused Russia's demand for a swap, since the US has insisted on Borokav's extradition and the Supreme Court has already approved it.

The Issachars claim that Naama has been abused by the Russians, who have held her in harsh conditions and only rarely allow visits by her family. The Russians have also refused to provide Naama with kosher food and a prayer book for the holidays, and purposely scheduled hearings for Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).