The mother of a young Israeli-American woman imprisoned in Russia has asked her lawyers to withdraw a petition to cancel the extradition of a Russian hacker whose case may have motivated Moscow’s decision to imprison her daughter.
Naama Issachar was arrested in April as she was transferring to a connecting flight in Russia while carrying a small amount of marijuana as she returned home to Israel from a trip to India. She was convicted of drug smuggling, a charge she denies, and sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison.
The Israeli news site Mako reported on Tuesday that Naama’s mother Yaffa asked her lawyers to withdraw a petition they had presented to the Israeli Supreme Court seeking the cancellation of the justice minister’s decision to extradite hacker Alex Burkov to the United States.
It is widely believed that Russia’s refusal to grant clemency to Naama is an attempt to use her as leverage to prevent Burkov’s extradition.
The request to withdraw the petition by Naama’s lawyers stated that “there have been developments legally and on matters between the family and political officials” and that the withdrawal of the petition would lead to “effective and focused efforts” for Naama’s release.
Yaffa stated that she had faith in efforts by President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to obtain Naama’s release and her daughter ” will not be a pawn in the game of a Russian hacker and his people.”
At the same time, she said of Naama, “I pray my decision will not worsen her situation.”
The Issachar family stated that they “hope the distinguished Supreme Court justices listen to Naama’s request to do everything possible to get her out of the hell she is in.”
Naama, said the family, was “being held hostage by the Russian government seeking to prevent the extradition of a Russian citizen to the United States.”