Russia does not have a history of being a ‘humanitarian’ oriented nation, for with her long prison sentences for even small cases of drug trafficking or other offenses, Russia ranks with the US in the top five nations with the largest prison population, and a long-established prison culture. Foreign citizens who are arrested in Russia can expect the same or harsher treatment often than Russian citizens, especially if they are Americans who are caught.
However, not all people are treated harshly. For example, during a recent visit of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Russia where he spoke with Russian President Putin, who is Jewish himself (by way of his mother), Putin chose to extend a presidential pardon to an Israeli-American Jewish woman who was arrested in Russia and convicted on drug trafficking charges and release her to the custody of Netanyahu.
Russia has released a dual US-Israeli national who was detained on charges of drug trafficking last year.
Naama Issachar, 26, was arrested in Moscow in April 2019 after more than nine grams of marijuana were found in her luggage. She was later sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
President Putin pardoned Issachar on Wednesday.
The decision came ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow on Thursday.
Mr Netanyahu thanked his “friend” Mr Putin for the decision to pardon Issachar.
He later posted a video on social media of him meeting Issachar with the message: “Naama, we’re going home.” They then left for Israel on the prime minister’s plane.
Israeli media have reported that the Israeli government was willing to relinquish ownership of a complex in Jerusalem – symbolic to the Russian Orthodox Church – as a goodwill gesture ahead of Issachar’s release.
Ownership of the Alexander Courtyard, which lies in Jerusalem’s Old City near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, has been disputed for decades, but an Israeli court recently ruled in Russia’s favour. (source)
One can only wonder if the same courtesy would be extended in the same context to any other American, or perhaps and Arab, Chinaman, or African in the same context.