26-year-old Israeli-American sentenced to 7.5 years in Russian prison for 9 grams of weed

Naama Issachar is a dual citizen of the United States and Israel. She was taking a connecting flight in Moscow when a drug-sniffing dog discovered she was carrying less than one-third of an ounce of pot (9 grams). That was enough to earn her 7.5 years in a Russian prison.

In Russia, possessing under 6 grams of pot is punishable by 15 days in prison. Possessing over 6 grams with intent to sell has a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison. So why is Issachar getting 7.5 years? It sounds like she is being used as a human bargaining chip.

From Reason:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "requested a commuting of the sentence and an easing of the terms of Naama's detention," according to a statement from his office. "To our regret, the Russian prosecution has not yet accepted to these requests." The office added that Issachar's sentence "is disproportionate and does not fit the nature of the offense being attributed" to her.

The Times of Israel reports that "a senior Israeli official told Hebrew media that Russia offered several times in recent months to free Issachar if Israel agrees to release Aleksey Burkov, a Russian IT specialist who was arrested in Israel in 2016 at the request of Interpol." Burkov "is wanted on embezzlement charges in the United States for a massive credit card scheme that saw him allegedly steal millions of dollars from American consumers."

Image: Naama Issachar (Instagram)