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Putin pardons US-Israeli woman jailed in Russia on drug charges

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in the Kremlin, Feb. 27, 2019. (Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pardoned Naama Issachar, a woman holding dual Israeli and U.S. citizenship who was serving a 7 1/2-year prison sentence for smuggling drugs.

“Guided by the principles of humanity, I decree to pardon Naama Issachar, born in 1993…releasing her from the remainder of her sentence,” a presidential decree on January 29 said.

It goes into effect the same day.

Issacher was arrested at a Moscow airport in April while transiting from India to Israel.

Police at the time found 9 grams of marijuana among her belongings and eventually charged her with drug smuggling.

In October, a Moscow region court sentenced her to prison.

Putin met with Issachar’s mother on January 23 during an official visit to Israel, where he promised that her daughter “will be okay.”

After the meeting, which was also attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Putin said, “I have just met with Naama’s mother; it is clear to me that Naama comes from a good and very decent family.”

Netanyahu, who is due to meet Putin in Moscow on January 30, welcomed the pardon.

“I thank my friend President Putin for granting a pardon to Naama Issachar and I am looking forward to our meeting tomorrow,” he said.