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December 16, 2019 12:52 pm

Sister of Young Israeli-American Woman Jailed in Russia Describes Prison Meeting, Says She Saw No ‘Trace of Optimism’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Naama Issachar takes a selfie in Israel in this undated picture. Photo: Family photo / Handout via Reuters / File.

The sister of a young Israeli-American woman imprisoned in Russia on drug charges described a meeting with her this past weekend in which she appeared to have no “trace of optimism” about her case.

Naama Issachar was arrested in April while waiting for a connecting flight in Moscow and found to be in possession of a small amount of cannabis. She was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for drug smuggling — a charge she denies. An appeal is currently underway.

Israel’s Channel 13 quoted Liad Gold, Naama’s sister, as saying that she and her mother had met with Naama on Sunday and her state of mind was not good.

“At the start of our meeting she looked very despairing,” Liad said. “The last week was difficult for her to bear and she shared with us that she feels like she’s in complete darkness.”

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“She’s scared by the lack of information,” Liad added. “She has no idea what her near future will look like. It was the first time that I didn’t see her with a trace of optimism.”

Liad recounted, “She cried a lot and said, ‘I was always a good girl without any criminal background, a good student, I served in the army and I excelled. This story turned my life upside down, it’s going to be a black stain on me forever.’”

“I saw she was in pain and tried to change the subject,” Liad said. “I asked her what are the things she thinks about that do her good and what she wants to do when she gets out.”

Naama replied, “I know it’s stupid, but the only thing I want to do right now, my greatest fantasy, is to ride the streets of Tel Aviv on my bike and be able to turn off my own light at night.”

Liad said, “I’m crossing my fingers that every day that passes brings us closer to the moment when we can just sit together again at a cafe, hold hands, hug and laugh. If it would only arrive now.”

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