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Israel Halts Russian Hacker’s Extradition to U.S. Amid Prisoner Swap Talks With Moscow

Alexei Burkov Vkontakte

Israel has suspended the extradition to the U.S. of a Russian hacker after Russia proposed to swap him for an Israeli woman jailed in Russia over airport marijuana possession, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday. 

In mid-October, Russia asked Israel to swap Alexei Burkov, who is wanted in the U.S. on charges of credit card fraud, for Naama Issachar, who was recently sentenced to prison in Russia on drug-smuggling charges. Israel has condemned Russia's sentencing of Issachar as "heavy" and "disproportionate."

Israel’s supreme court sided with Issachar’s family to temporarily suspend Burkov’s extradition to the U.S., citing the “necessity to protect Israeli citizens” and the “exceptional circumstances” of Issachar’s case.

Issachar, a U.S.-Israeli citizen, was detained in April during a layover in a Moscow airport and accused her of having 9 grams of cannabis in her bag. 

Issachar pleaded not guilty to charges of drug smuggling but didn't deny that the cannabis in her bag was hers. She was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

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