Jonathan Pollard’s American attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, filed
a new petition for clemency on Friday, asking that US President Barack Obama
commute Pollard’s life sentence to the 25 years he has already served, The
The petition comes amid a wave of calls for the release of the Israeli agent and
following new revelations of apparent government malfeasance made public by
senior officials with first-hand involvement in the case – former minister Rafi
Eitan and former US assistant secretary of defense Lawrence J.
Korb.RELATED:Pollard: PM hasn't asked Obama to free meDemocrats in US Congress urge Obama to release Pollard
Eitan, who was Pollard’s handler, revealed on Thursday after press
time that the US had violated an oral agreement with Israel to release Pollard
after 10 years. In an interview with Israel Radio, Eitan also accused the US of
deliberately perpetrating a travesty of justice by violating Pollard’s plea
agreement and slapping him with what he called a grossly disproportionate life
He pointed out that at the time of Pollard’s sentencing in
1987, secret charges were laid against Pollard blaming him for the crimes of a
Russian mole within American intelligence, Aldrich Ames. Pollard was neither
informed of these charges nor given a chance to challenge them in a court of law.
said the US steadfastly refused to release Pollard even after Ames was exposed
and arrested in 1994, “for their own reasons.”
Eitan called for the US to
release Pollard at once, saying that 25 years was at least 15 years longer that
he should have served.
Korb, who was assistant secretary of defense under
Caspar Weinberger at the time of Pollard’s arrest, wrote a letter to Obama
calling for Pollard’s release that was released last week.
called Pollard’s sentence “grossly disproportionate” and said it was the result
of Weinberger’s “visceral dislike” of Israel, and not because of the offense
Pollard had committed.
In addition to Korb, former CIA director James
Woolsey and former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini,
as well as a cross-section of other notable Americans, and the Conference of
Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations have all recently called for Pollard’s
All major Jewish religious organizations across the spectrum
including the Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center, the Orthodox Union, the
National Council of Young Israel, and Agudath Israel, have also recently issued
calls for Pollard’s release.
Adding to the groundswell of support, four
democratic congressmen – Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Bill Pascrell of New
Jersey, and Edolphus Towns and Anthony Weiner, both of New York – have been
circulating a petition among their colleagues with a letter addressed to Obama
showing support for Pollard’s immediate release.
Weinberger said in a
2002 interview that the Pollard case was a “minor matter” that had been “made
much more important than it was” in order to serve another agenda. Weinberger
died in 2006.
Pollard’s new petition for clemency contains documents and
statements designed to show not only the injustice done to Pollard, but also the
support for his freedom.
The Korb letter and the DeConcini letter to
Obama are part of the filing, along with statements from other relevant American
officials in support of Pollard’s immediate release.
Rabbi Pesach Lerner,
executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, who spearheads
efforts in the US on behalf of Pollard, said, “The injustice is well known. All
that is needed now to correct it is Mr. Obama’s signature on Jonathan’s new
petition for clemency.
“The American Jewish community and the people of
Israel hope that the president will take this opportunity to restore honor to
the American system of justice by releasing Jonathan Pollard now, and sending
him home to Jerusalem to his wife, Esther, and to his people.”
Pollard stressed, “Jonathan’s petition for clemency does not ask for a pardon,
only for clemency.
A pardon expunges the offense as if it never
Jonathan is not asking for his offense to be erased. All he is
asking is for President Obama to commute his life sentence to time
“Because the president’s powers of executive clemency are
unlimited and not subject to review by any other government office or official,
the president can correct this decades-long injustice in virtually a few seconds
with a single stroke of his pen,” she said.
Jonathan Pollard, 56, relayed
to The Jerusalem Post
via his wife that he appreciates the efforts his attorneys
made to complete the petition expeditiously and submit it without
“Twenty-five years is a long time,” he said. “Esther and I hope
that President Obama will see to it that justice does not have to wait any