An American woman returning to her home in Israel from yoga training in India remains detained in a prison outside Moscow, facing a disproportionately harsh sentence on a trumped-up cannabis smuggling charge that many believe is politically motivated.
Naama Issachar, 26, a Fair Lawn, New Jersey native whose family moved to Israel during her teenage years, finds herself an unsuspecting pawn in a high stakes game of international political chess, after just under 10 grams of weed were discovered by Russian police in her luggage during a stopover at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. The geopolitical machinations and intrigue that preceded and led to her arrest and imprisonment now also include a Russian hacker wanted for extradition by both his and the US government, and the upper diplomatic echelons of some of the world’s most active military powers. Detained since April 2019, Naama faces another seven years in Russian prison if the top officials of the Israeli government aren’t successful in their efforts to negotiate her release.
Four thousand miles away, at Naama’s intended destination, Aleksey Burkov sits in the Israeli prison he has already occupied for almost four years. Burkov, 29, is a Russian hacker accused by the US of