Case against Pollard parole conditions to be reopened

Congressmans’ appeal for convicted spy being used against him, lawyers claim.

April 14, 2016 00:11
2 minute read.
Pollard court

Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard departs US District court after a hearing with his wife Elaine in the Manhattan borough of New York December 14, 2015.. (photo credit: LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS)

The US District Court in the Southern District of New York granted a request on Tuesday by Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard’s lawyers to reopen his appeal against his strict parole conditions, according to a document received Wednesday by The Jerusalem Post.

Pollard was released on “mandatory” parole on November 20, 2015 after serving exactly 30 years in prison for the crime of conspiracy to commit espionage without intent to harm the United States, by delivering classified information to Israel in 1984 and 1985.

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But his parole conditions require him to be monitored by a GPS device that forces him to violate Shabbat and Jewish holidays and his computers to be monitored, which his lawyers say has prevented him from being employed.

Pollard asked the court to remove the conditions the day he was released. After a December 14 hearing, the court asked the parole commission to justify the conditions. Pollard’s lawyers called the response the commission issued March 2 “a series of disjointed observations about events that occurred 30 years ago and unsubstantiated statements of US officials.”

The commission justified the GPS monitoring by citing a letter written by New York Democratic Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Eliot Engel to Attorney- General Loretta Lynch, asking that Pollard be allowed to move to Israel.

“The proposition is in clear contradiction to the order of the sentencing court that Pollard be sentenced to the custody of the attorney-general for life and the parole certificate that he signed prior to his release, indicating an understanding that he will not be able to leave the district of release without prior approval of his US probation officer,” the commission wrote.

Pollard’s lawyers responded that “the commission’s distorted reliance on the Nadler/Engel Letter is proof of how vindictive and biased this proceeding has become toward Mr. Pollard.” They wrote that it was “grossly unfair and unconstitutionally retaliatory” to suggest that because congressmen wrote that Pollard would want to move to Israel in a lawful manner, he might unlawfully violate the terms of his release.

“Pollard has not concealed that he wishes to live in Israel,” they wrote. “He stated it expressly to the Commission on remand. But, this in no way implies that he would risk his freedom in order to do so.”

The Court set a June 13 date for oral arguments on the case. But Pollard’s lawyers have had to ask for a later appointment, because the fixed date is also the Shavuot holiday in the US.

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