Yaffa Issachar, the mother of an Israeli woman serving a 7.5-year prison sentence in Russia for marijuana possession, has not lost hope that her daughter will be released before Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Israel this month.
Naama Issachar, a 26-year-old yoga teacher from Tel Aviv, was given what her lawyers described as a particularly harsh sentence after 9.5 grams of cannabis were found among her belongings while in transit at Moscow airport. She had been heading back to Israel from India when she was arrested in Moscow in April.
Her appeal against her sentence was rejected last month by a Moscow court.
Yaffa who has moved to Moscow to be near her daughter, told Ynet that she is hopeful that Putin will pardon her daughter before his visit to Jerusalem for the International Holocaust Memorial Day conference later this month.
"I cannot see him coming to Israel and leaving her behind in Russia," Yaffa said.
"How would Israel be able to welcome him if he does? With open arms?" she said.
"The question of Naama's release is not in the hands of the Israeli consul in Moscow or even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is doing everything possible," she said.
"It is up to Putin to decide. He must release her. I thought it would happen by now, but we can only wait."
Earlier this week, the family discovered that Naama had been moved to a prison facility further away from the Russian capital with no advance notice and no explanation offered.
Israeli officials in Moscow and Jerusalem were quick to intervene with Russian authorities and Naama was returned to her previous cell.
"I veer from hope to despair," Yaffa said, as she set out to try and see her daughter, hoping to bring her food and warm clothing.
First published: 15:39 , 01.02.20