JERUSALEM (JTA) — Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the mother of Naama Issachar, the American-Israeli woman jailed in Russia for drug smuggling, and told her “everything will be all right.”
Putin met with Yaffa Issachar during his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. He arrived in Israel on Thursday morning to participate in the World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem in the Israeli capital.
Following the meeting, Putin said in a statement: “It is clear that Naama comes from a very good family. The Prime Minister’s position is known to me – to decide appropriately. All of this will be taken into account when a decision is made. Today, Naama will meet with the person responsible for maintaining human rights in Russia. Her mother was very moving and supports her daughter. I said to her and I will say it again – everything will be all right.”
Yaffa Issachar later told reporters that Putin did not give her a specific date for the release of her daughter but that she is optimistic.
“He promised he would bring the girl home,” she said.
Naama Issachar, 26, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison in October following her conviction for smuggling marijuana into the country. She had been detained since April after 9 grams (less than one-third of an ounce) of marijuana were found in her luggage at the airport in Moscow where she was transiting from India to Israel.
She grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and returned to Israel with her parents when she was 16.