Israel wants Russia to free U.S.-Israeli woman, rules out swap

JERUSALEM, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to secure the release of a U.S.-Israeli woman being held in Russia on drugs charges, his office said on Friday.

Netanyahu has twice discussed Naama Issachar’s case with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israel will “continue to exert every effort to free (her) and return her to her family,” it said in a statement.

Issachar was arrested in April while in transit in a Moscow airport and accused of having 9 grams of cannabis in her bag, Israeli officials and Russian media have said.

Israeli media say Russian prosecutors accuse her of drug smuggling and want her jailed for several years.

Russia’s RT media channel suggested on Thursday that Issachar might be released if Israel frees Alexei Burkov, a Russian national it detained in 2015. Israel said the United States wanted to extradite Burkov for suspected cyber crimes.

But the statement issue by Netanyahu’s office ruled out any such prisoner swap.

“Israeli justice official have made unequivocally clear that there is no possibility of preventing Burkov’s extradition after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled him extraditable,” it said. (Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Timothy Heritage)