A Russian court has forbidden Yaffa Issachar from speaking Hebrew with her daughter Naama, who is imprisoned in a Russian jail. Naama was sentenced to 7.5 years of jail for possession of 9.5 grams of cannabis while awaiting a connecting flight in Moscow to Israel from India in April.
Issachar flew to Moscow on Monday morning and was supposed to meet with her daughter on Monday afternoon. However, the visit has been pushed off to Tuesday since it hasn’t received the court’s approval yet. Furthermore, the court has forbidden the two women from speaking in Hebrew since it limits their ability to monitor the content of their conversation. The judge said that if the two speak Hebrew together he will forbid future visits.
On Sunday morning, Issachar met with the head of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat to discuss Israeli efforts to free Naama. Netanyahu unexpectedly walked in to meet with Issachar for a few minutes and told her that the state of Israel is continuing to do everything it can to bring Naama home.
Naama’s harsh sentence was thought to be a tactic for Russia to pressure Israel in refraining from extraditing Russian hacker Alexei Burkov to the United States, where he is wanted for alleged cyber credit fraud. Some say that Burkov might have ties to Russian cyber intelligence, which is why Russia is so eager to have him return to Russia, although Burkov has denied this.
Russia offered to free Naama from prison in exchange for Burkov but since Israel’s Supreme Court had already ruled that Burkov must be extradited to the United States, Israel turned Russia’s offer down.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)