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Vadim Klyuvgant on motivated petition for appeal on Naama Issachar’s case

Lawyers of the Israeli Naama Issachar, who was sentenced in Russia to 7.5 years of colony for smuggling of hashish in registered luggage, filed a petition for appeal of the sentence.

‘When we started working on this case we promised to pick this sentence to pieces and share the results. It is time we shared: the four-page sentence contains so many faults, inconsistencies and irreparable defects, that their description and analysis took a 56-page document,’ Vadim Klyuvgant, Partner, Co-Head of Criminal Law Practice of Pen & Paper Attorneys at Law, says. ‘Since we, unlike the prosecution and the court, cannot afford to make unsubstantiated assertions. The briefest and the most general conclusion is the following: no traces of justice have been identified in this case yet. And no traces of any crime either. But out client has been in a prison in a foreign country for 8 months. Who is she, if not a hostage? Now we are to explain this to the court of appeal, and we hope to be heard. As for now I can only say this: we tried our best to leave no chance to disguise lawlessness as justice.’

In their petition the lawyers state that Issachar did not and did not intend to cross the customs border of the RF, did not and was not supposed to go through customs control. They also point to other conclusions of the court, which, according to the defence, are contrary to the principles of fair legal evaluation.

The 25-year-old Naama Issachar was detained in April 2019 when she was in transit in Sheremetyevo on her way from Delhi to Tel Aviv. In October she was pronounced guilty of possession and smuggling on 9.5 grams of hashish (Art. 228 part 1 and Art. 229.1 part 2с of the Criminal Code of the RF). Issachar denied charges of smuggling, since she had had no physical access to the luggage containing the substance. This point is covered in the petition for appeal.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has already addressed President Vladimir Putin with a request to pardon Israeli and US citizen Naama Issachar. According to Jerusalem Post, earlier Israel denied Russia’s request to exchange her for programmer Aleksey Burkov who in 2015 at the request of the US was arrested in Tel Aviv, since the court had already made the decision to release him. Issachar’s case has been twice discussed with Mr. Putin by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In late October it became known that Knimkinsky city court had forbidden Naama Issachar to communicate over the phone, including with her own mother. The judge motivated the ban by the fact that no one knows what Issachar might discuss over the phone, since in the detention centre where the girl is held no one speaks English or Hebrew, which is why it would be impossible to track her conversations.