Herzog said to pardon jailed Ukrainian man who wants to go home to fight

President reportedly agrees tourist convicted of smuggling cocaine can be released a year early if he immediately flies home

President Isaac Herzog speaks in Jerusalem, March 7, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
President Isaac Herzog speaks in Jerusalem, March 7, 2022. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

President Isaac Herzog has granted a full pardon to a Ukrainian man jailed in Israel who wishes to fly home to fight against the Russian invasion, the Kan public broadcaster reported Monday.

According to the report, the man was arrested when he arrived in Israel as a tourist in 2017 after a search of his suitcase turned up several kilograms of cocaine.

The man was jailed for nearly seven years but will now be released a year before the end of his sentence.

Herzog reportedly said Sunday that he would agree to the release, but conditioned it on the man immediately returning to Ukraine. The report said he was set to fly home in the coming days.

The unnamed prisoner’s attorney told Kan that they thanked Herzog for responding to the “unusual request.”

The lawyer said his client will “return to his burning homeland and join the fighting there and help as much as possible in the face of the atrocities in Ukraine.”

The attorney said that his client’s family was grateful that the State of Israel understood the importance of the request.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians, as well as foreign nationals, have headed to Ukraine to fight since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

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