Mother of Naama Issachar asks to cancel petition for stay on Russian hacker’s extradition to the United States

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Naama Issachar's mother cancels petition request against Russian hacker

Naama Issachar. (photo credit: MAARIV)

Yaffa Issachar – the mother of Naama Issachar, the Israeli citizen who has been sentenced to over seven years in prison for a minor drug charge – retracted a petition she filed last week with the High Court of Justice against its decision to approve the extradition to the US of a suspected Russian hacker.

According to a family friend, concerns arose that should legal proceedings over Burkov’s case drag out, his ongoing detention in Israel could stymie diplomatic efforts to make progress on Naama’s release.

The family was informed as such by Israeli diplomatic officials in Israel, he said, and that when Yaffa Issachar understood that the legal proceedings would not lead to Burkov’s repatriation to Russia but instead his ongoing detention in Israel she decided to withdraw the petition.

In a document filed to the High Court, Naama’s lawyers said that the petition was being withdrawn due to “developments in the case, and matters between the family of the petitioner and the diplomatic officials dealing with the issue,” although they did not specify what those developments were.

Last month, the Supreme Court rejected the final appeal of alleged Russian hacker Alexei Burkov against his extradition to the United States, where he is wanted on charges of credit fraud, and Justice Minister Amir Ohana subsequently approved the extradition order.

Yaffa filed a High Court petition against the justice minister’s decision, since Moscow has seemingly tied Burkov’s fate to that of Naama and is apparently using her as a bargaining chip in its efforts to prevent Burkov from being extradited to the US.

The High Court issued a temporary injunction against the extradition while it considered the petition.

According the document submitted to retract the petition, Israeli officials convinced Yaffa of the country’s legal obligation to help Israelis and Jews in captivity.

The document said that “the State of Israel is operating on the matter… through different procedures that are not usually taken in other cases where Israeli citizens are prosecuted in foreign countries, due to the uniqueness of the case and its extreme circumstances.”

Yaffa said on Tuesday that she had retracted the petition “after unbearably hard misgivings.”

“Naama will not a be tool in the hands of the Russian hacker and his people,” Yaffa said. “I pray that my decision does not cause a worsening in Naama’s situation in the Russian prison, and I give my full trust to the president and prime minister that they continue to act vis-à-vis the Russian president in order to bring about Naama’s immediate release.”

Naama was returning to Israel in April after a three-month trip to India, via a connecting flight through Moscow, but was detained after Russian police found what transpired to be just nine grams of cannabis in her checked baggage.

She was nevertheless convicted last month and sentenced to a seven-and-a-half years in prison, which has been described as “disproportionate.”

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