Israeli Lawyer Jailed in Belarus for Having Medical Marijuana Released After Diplomatic Effort
An Israeli lawyer who was detained in a prison in Belarus for almost two months for alleged drug possession was freed on Thursday, and is making her way back to her home country following weeks of diplomatic efforts.
Maya Reiten-Stoll, an Israeli attorney was arrested at the beginning of November while on a business trip at the airport in Minsk with 2.5 grams of medical cannabis in her bag.
“I am the happiest person in the world. I can’t wait to see my kids, I can’t wait to get home. I can’t believe I’m walking freely, unaccompanied, without being yelled at with my hands in the back,” said Reiten-Stoll following her release, Israeli media reported. “I was detained for almost two months. I have never experienced such a jolt in my life.”
The single mother of two young children holds an Israeli license to use medical cannabis due to treat a medical condition. In a letter earlier this month, Reiten-Stoll described harsh conditions of detention, warning that without her medical treatment she did not know how much longer she she could survive in the Belarusian prison.
“Today ended a long and difficult struggle for the release of Reiten-Stoll and her return to Israel and to her family,” said the family’s lawyer Sharon Nahari. “She was indicted for committing offenses that the state of Belarus considers very serious.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that after joint efforts by President Isaac Herzog, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and the Foreign Ministry, Reiten-Stoll was released from detention in Belarus and returing to Israel with her brother.
“Special thanks to the President of Israel for his efforts and actions to return Maya to Israel,” Lapid tweeted.
Herzog thanked Lapid and Liberman and their staff for the successful cooperation in bringing Reiten-Stoll home.
“Now we can all be calm that you [Maya] will welcome 2022 in the arms of your family, your home, and your country,” Liberman said.