Jonathan Pollard 311 (R).
(photo credit: Courtesy of Justice for Jonathan Pollard)
Thousands of Americans and Israelis called the White House Monday to request US President Barack Obama commute the life sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard on the 26th anniversary of his arrest.
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In advertisements published in the US, Israel and France, the international campaign for Pollard’s release called upon people to “join dozens of senior American officials in urging Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence.” The Israeli ads included a local number that reaches the White House.
The push for Pollard’s release has intensified in recent days, because American presidents traditionally grant pardons and clemency to a select group of prisoners as an act of goodwill between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In a conference call with activists working for her husband’s release, Esther Pollard warned of his deteriorating health. He has been taken from his prison cell to the hospital four times in the past year and recently had surgery.
“He is fading before my eyes,” she said. “Both of us know that another emergency operation is only a matter of time, but we don’t know whether he will come out of it this time. I am worried that he can’t survive another year in prison.”
US Vice President Joe Biden promised American-Jewish leaders a meeting to discuss Pollard’s fate after he was criticized for making statements condemning Pollard two months ago. Biden's office confirmed that a meeting had taken place but the details of the conversations were not disclosed.
Kadima MK Nachman Shai called upon Obama to “stop the cruelty” and release Pollard. He said that Pollard had already lost much of his life and there was no reason to keep him incarcerated.