Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to meet the mother of American-born Israeli backpacker Naama Issachar, jailed in Russia for carrying a few grams of cannabis in her luggage, the Kremlin said Wednesday.
Putin is meeting Issachar’s mother Thursday along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Holy Land, during his trip to Israel for a Holocaust forum tied to the 75th anniversary of the Soviet army’s liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, Putin adviser Yuri Ushakov said.
Netanyahu asked the Russian leader to pardon the 26-year-old dual citizen who was arrested in April at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where she was switching from a connecting flight from India to Israel.
In October, Issachar was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for a charge of smuggling drugs, her sister, Liad Gold, told Fox News at the time. Then in December, a Russian court rejected Issachar’s appeal but Netanyahu remains cautiously optimistic she will be released soon.
“I think the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. I think it’s extreme and inhumane and she’s more than paid the price for what she did,” Gold told Fox News in October, reacting to her sister’s sentencing.
Issachar said she wasn’t provided a translator or lawyer after being detained at a Moscow airport.
Fox News’ Talia Kaplan and the Associated Press contributed to this report.