Update: Naama has now been set free, and is headed back to Israel with Prime Minister Netanyahu!
Last month I wrote about the plight of Naama Issachar and called for a boycott of Russia’s state owned Aeroflot until she was freed.
She was alleged to have flown with 0.33 ounces of marijuana in her checked luggage as she flew from India to Israel via Moscow. She had no way to access the drugs during her connection, but was charged as a distributor and sentenced to 7.5 years in Russian prison.
The great news is that Haaretz is reporting Putin has signed her pardon and she will be released soon.
The Russian president has never previously granted a pardon to a foreign national.
Originally Russia had wanted fraudster Aleksey Burkov to be exchanged for Naama. In the end Russia asked Israel to transfer part of the Russian Orthodox Church property in Jerusalem’s Old City to the Kremlin as a “goodwill gesture” ahead of Naama’s release. Russia has long wanted that land, It is unclear as of now if that request was granted.
Obviously one should never fly with illegal drugs, but I’d still be wary of connecting in Russia. Will you fly Aeroflot in the future?