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Israeli Woman Held In Belarus Urges Homeland To Get Her 'Out Of This Hell'

The pretrial detention center No. 1 of the Minsk police department, where Maya Raiten is being held.

MINSK -- An Israeli woman who has been held in Belarus for over a month after customs officials found her carrying 2.5 grams of prescription marijuana has urged Israeli authorities to get her "out of this hell."

Maya Raiten, a lawyer, was arrested on November 11 upon her arrival in Minsk, where she came to provide legal assistance to an Israeli businessman.

Raiten says she had a medical note for the marijuana, which she uses for pain control, but Belarusian authorities said the document had no legal standing in the country and that possessing marijuana in Belarus is a serious crime.

Israeli media published a letter from Raiten on December 7 in which she wrote: "I will not last much longer here."

"I am going through excruciating agony, driven by worries for my children, my beloved parents who are not young.... I am cut off from communication of any kind to the world outside," Raiten's letter says, adding that none of the three other women in her cell can speak English or Hebrew.

Media reports in Israel say the country's embassy in Minsk is aware of the situation and has been working on Raiten's release since the day of her arrest.

With reporting by Kan
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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.