Naama Issachar
Naama IssacharCourtesy of the family

Yaffa Issachar, the mother of a young Israeli imprisoned in Russia for marijuana smuggling, on Saturday night told News 13 that Israel "needs to release" her daughter and asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to pardon her.

In an interview with News 13, Issachar spoke of her feelings since Russia rejected her appeal to release Naama early.

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

"I want to believe the Prime Minister, and the head of the National Security Council, and those who are in contact with me from Israel, such as Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud)," she said. "But one day passes and then the next, a month passes and another month, and my daughter is still there. They've been talking with me since before Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year, which fell this year on September 30 and October 1 - ed.), since the month of August. We're already in the month of January."

She added: "What do they need? We have 120 representatives in the country, bring my daughter back home. I'm managing, and I'm optimistic because I need her to be optimistic as well. We need to release her."

Putin's upcoming visit to Israel, Issachar said: "I am full of hopes that he will pardon her before he arrives. He can do it tomorrow as well. My hope is that he will pardon her and allow her to return home. I turn to him pleading that he return her to us."

Issachar also spoke about the sentence, saying, "Naama spoke very nicely during the hearing, she's truly a queen. She stood there in a glass cell, usually in all the other hearings she's had until now I was able to touch her. I even sat next to her. They let us hug and speak for a few minutes beforehand, until the attorney began. This time we weren't allowed to. They didn't even want us to have eye contact."

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that Naama Issachar's release may take time to orchestrate and is not expected to occur soon.

In October, Naama's mother told Galatz that she had asked, "Mom, why do I need a pardon? That means I'm a criminal and I'm not."

However, though she claimed to have "no idea" how the drug got into her bag, Naama was recorded telling her friend that she's "in much bigger trouble" than the two had hoped for. She has also claimed that she never confessed to the smuggling attempt.