An Israeli woman jailed in Russia on drug charges has submitted a petition to be pardoned by President Vladimir Putin.
State news agency Tass reported Sunday that Naama Issachar's lawyer said the request was filed following a statement by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov that she couldn't be pardoned without making a personal appeal.
The 26-year-old backpacker was arrested in April at a Moscow airport, where she was transferring en route from India to Israel. Russian authorities said more than nine grams of cannabis were found in her luggage. She was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to Putin to pardon Issachar.
"Naama decided to appeal to the president of the federation [Putin] to request her pardon and release, and she submitted [the request] in handwriting, as required by the prison authorities," the 26-year-old's attorneys said in a letter to the Times of Israel.
Last Thursday, Putin was in Israel alongside other world leaders for a one-day visit to the World Holocaust Forum, which marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Russian soldiers.
While in Israel last week, Putin met the young traveller's mother Yaffa Issachar and told her "everything will be alright."
After this meeting with Yaffa Issachar he said it was apparent that her daughter comes from a "good, decent family."
Yaffa Issachar was relieved but cautious after the meeting, telling Hebrew language reporters including the Times of Israel: "Putin told me: 'I'll bring the girl home.' Really. Let's wait and see, there is no date for the release."
- AP with additional staff reporting