Naama Issachar
Naama IssacharCourtesy of the family

"Naama Issachar is a hostage," Issachar's Russian attorney, Wadim Kaluvganet, told Israel Hayom in an exclusive interview.

Issachar was sentenced to 7.5 years in a Russian prison for possessing 9.5 grams of marijuana while passing through a Moscow airport.

Though she claimed to have "no idea" how the drug got into her bag, she was recorded telling her friend that she's "in much bigger trouble" than the two had hoped for.

Kaluvganet, who will represent Issachar in a December 12 appeal, claimed: "Naama is completely innocent. Until she was arrested, she had not spent any time in Russian territory."

"This isn't a small thing, but it definitely isn't enough," he said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's request that Russian President Vladimir Putin pardon Issachar. "Israel's government needs to keep its promises to Naama's family."

"Naama is in good condition, I hope Putin pardons her before his visit to Israel in January. Putin jailed Mikhail on false charges and he wasn't pardoned just out of the goodness of his heart. If we hadn't fought he would have rotted in jail until he died."

Kaluvganet also said there is no connection between Naama Issachar and Aleksey Burkov, the Russian hacker who Israel extradited to the US earlier this month.

After hinting that he himself had received threats due to his battle against corruption in Russia, Kaluvganet said, "We cannot let a war on corruption be seen as a political-populist campaign aimed at serving political enemies. Such a scenario is even more dangerous than the corruption itself, since it leads to a collapse of faith in the rule of law."

The full interview will be appear in Israel Hayom's weekend paper, published Friday.