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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Bavarian State Prime Minister Markus Soeder during their meeting in Moscow, Russia January 29, 2020.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Bavarian State Prime Minister Markus Soeder during their meeting in Moscow, Russia January 29, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 January 2020
Opinion

“Guided by the principle of humanity, I hereby order that Issachar Naama be pardoned,” read the Putin’s decree, which the Kremlin published on Wednesday, saying it took immediate effect.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pardoned the U.S.-Israeli woman that was jailed in Russia for drug-related charges, the Kremlin announced on Wednesday.

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According to the Kremlin, Putin signed the presidential decree to pardon the woman, Naama Issachar of New Jersey, a move that received acknowledgement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve of their bilateral meeting.

The U.S.-Israeli national was arrested in April last year after police found nine grams of cannabis in her bags during a stopover at a Moscow airport, en route from India to Israel.

“Guided by the principle of humanity, I hereby order that Issachar Naama be pardoned,” read the Putin’s decree, which the Kremlin published on Wednesday, saying it took immediate effect.

Sentenced to seven and a half years in jail on drug offences, Issachar, 26, asked for a presidential pardon after Putin met her mother during a visit to Jerusalem last week.

In Jerusalem, where Putin was attending an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, the Russian leader told Issachar’s mother that “everything will be okay” for her daughter.

Israel had previously condemned the sentence as “disproportionate”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is due to meet Putin on Thursday, welcomed the pardon on Wednesday.

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

The two men are due to discuss a new U.S. peace plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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