The mother of a young Israeli-American woman jailed in Russia on drug charges expressed optimism on Thursday after a video message from her daughter was broadcast to an appeals court.
Naama Issachar was arrested in April at a Russian airport for possession of a small amount of cannabis while she was waiting for a connecting flight. She was convicted of drug smuggling, a charge she vehemently denies, and sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison.
After viewing Naama’s video message, a judge postponed the proceedings for a week so she could appear before the court in person.
The Israeli news site Mako quoted Naama’s mother, Yafa, saying, “Naama the heroine turned to the judges and asked through the camera for them to allow her to be there in person, that they allow her to take part in the proceedings that will decide her fate.”
“She broke my heart, and it seems she succeeded in influencing the judges,” Yafa added.
She said that her daughter’s direct appeal to the judges “caused them to take a break for discussions. … When the judges came back, they decided to accept Naama’s request. The proceedings were postponed so that Naama can take part in them.”
Yafa said that when Naama saw what was happening, “She smiled and burst into tears.”
“It’s hard to see her behind bars,” Yafa said of her daughter, “but she astounds me all over again every time — what a child.”
She added that it was important for Naama to be physically present before the court “because she has energy, she’s someone who has an effect. They’ll see here what kind of person she is.”
Naama’s lawyer commented, “We hope that the judges will listen to our claims and make the right decision — to release Naama. All the rest is hard to watch.”