JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to pardon a young Israeli woman imprisoned on drug charges in Russia.
Russia last week sentenced Naama Issachar, 26, to seven and a half years in prison, months after she was stopped in Moscow’s international airport carrying a reported 9.6 grams of marijuana.
Israeli officials have said the sentence was excessive and indicated that Russia is seeking the release of a suspected Russian hacker in return for Issachar. Israel is in the process of extraditing the Russian suspect, Aleksey Burkov, to the U.S.
In a statement Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that he and President Reuven Rivlin sent an official request to Putin seeking Issachar’s release.
Netanyahu often boasts of his good relations with Putin.