Hacker’s extradition from Israel removes potential swap for Israeli-American woman imprisoned in Russia


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Russian hacker being held in an Israeli prison is no longer a potential bargaining chip for the return of an Israeli-American woman being held in a Russian prison.

Aleksey Burkov was extradited to the United States on Monday night after Israel’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal against the deportation and request to be returned to Russia, Israel’s Channel 12 first reported.

Russia had tried exchanging Naama Issachar for Burkov, but its advances were turned down by Israel.

Issachar was sentenced in Russia a month ago to 7 1/2 years in prison for drug smuggling. She had been detained in Russia since April after 9 grams of marijuana were found in her luggage before a connecting flight on the way from India to Israel, where she moved while in high school. She had not planned to enter Russia.

Nine grams is less than a third of an ounce and is within the legal limit for personal use in Israel. It generally gets a slap on the wrist in Russia.

Issachar’s mother had asked the Supreme Court to put a hold on Burkov’s extradition in an effort to affect her daughter’s release. Last week she canceled her request, saying that “Naama will not be a pawn for the Russian hacker and his people.”

Burkov is wanted in the United States on embezzlement charges for a credit card scheme that allegedly stole millions of dollars from American consumers. He was arrested in Israel in 2015 at the request of Interpol.

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