Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday to pardon Naama Issachar, who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for possession and smuggling of drugs, the Kremlin published a statement, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“The release was a gesture by President Putin to the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu],” a senior Israeli source said on Wednesday, hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to fly to Moscow, “There was no deal with Russia.”
Netanyahu and Putin plan to meet on Thursday, with Netanyahu stopping in Moscow on the way back from Washington to discuss US President Donald Trump’s peace plan and other diplomatic matters.
The prime minister is expected to bring Issachar on his flight to Israel.
Naama’s mother Yaffa said, “I’ve been waiting for this moment for almost a year. It’s been a long journey that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. At this moment what I want to do more than anything is to hug my daughter.
“With all my heart I want to thank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his political determination and the great lengths he went to with the Russian government.
“I also want to thank the Russian President Vladimir Putin for the compassion he showed my daughter and for accepting my daughter Naama’s request to return home,” Yaffa said.