Hodaya Monsonego
Hodaya MonsonegoCourtesy of the family

Maor Monsonego, the brother of Hodaya Monsonego who has just received permission to return home to Israel from Peru, where she was imprisoned for almost two years, has described his elation at the news.

Hodaya was arrested two years ago after several kilograms of cocaine were found in her luggage. She was held in prison for almost a year and then released to house arrest, staying with a Jewish family in Peru’s capital city, Lima.

“A gang of criminals took advantage of my sister to smuggle drugs into the country,” Maor told Radio 103FM. “I can’t even begin to tell you how I feel after two years of fighting for her release. Thankfully we had an excellent lawyer at our side.”

Maor added that he wanted to “thank everyone who gave us support – financial and otherwise. Thank G-d, we have a wonderful country. We didn’t expect people to help us so much.”

The decision to release Hodaya Monsonego was made by a Peruvian court just a day ago. Hodaya has special needs, which was taken into account when she was first released from prison to house arrest; now, she will be able to return home to Israel.

Several prominent figures in Israel worked hard to get her released, including former President Reuven Rivlin and the current Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid).

Upon hearing of Hodaya’s release, Lapid said: “During my first week in office, I appointed a special team to deal with this case and worked closely with them. We aren’t going to celebrate until we see her landing in Israel, but we can already begin to rejoice now. For me, protecting and caring for young people with special needs is part of my life’s mission.”