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December 24, 2019 2:16 pm

Mother of Israeli-American Woman Imprisoned in Russia Meets Daughter for First Time Since Appeal Denied

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Demonstrators call for the release of Naama Issachar, an Israeli-American woman imprisoned in Russia on drug charges, at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, Oct. 19, 2019. Photo: Tomer Neuberg / Flash90.

The mother of a young Israeli-American woman imprisoned for seven-and-a-half years in Russia on drug charges met her daughter in prison on Tuesday for the first time since her appeal was denied last week.

Naama Issachar was arrested at a Moscow airport in April while waiting for a connecting flight for possession of a small amount of cannabis. She was convicted of drug smuggling, a charge she denies. It is widely believed that political motives are behind her heavy sentence.

“The meeting was charged, Naama was very disturbed,” Yafa Issachar said of the meeting with her daughter, according to Israel’s Channel 13.

“She wants to appeal to a higher court,” Yafa added. “She won’t accept that this is her sentence — and rightly so.”

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“Ten days after the ruling, she’s supposed to be classed as an inmate in a regular prison and it could be anywhere in Russia,” she added.

Naama, said Yafa, believed she would return home, but now felt she was “being sucked deeper into this nightmare scenario.”

Regarding Naama’s appearance in court during her appeal hearing, Yafa said her daughter “was proud of herself that she got everything out of her mouth without stuttering at all. She really trained a lot and it was important to make her voice clear.”

Nonetheless, she asserted, the appeal “turned out to be one big show.”

“Naama told me that while she was in the glass booth and she locked eyes with everyone in the courtroom — foreign reporters, Israeli journalists — she felt their love,” Yafa added.

“We will not stop fighting for her release, nor will she,” Yafa said. “There is no doubt she has endless strength that amazes even me.”

“I so want to believe it will be over soon and she will be home with me again,” she said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he will work for Naama’s release.

President Reuven Rivlin has already raised the issue in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is planning to visit Israel next month.

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