jonathan pollard_311 reuters.
(photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)
In a display of bipartisanship, a group of 18 former United States senators
recently wrote to President Barack Obama and urged him to commute Israeli agent
Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence to the nearly 26 years he has already
The first letter ever on Pollard’s behalf from a group of
senators, it includes endorsements from senators who opposed his release in the
past but now support an immediate commutation of his sentence.
senators told Obama that commuting Pollard’s sentence would be “a wholly
appropriate exercise of your power of clemency – as well as a matter of basic
compassion and American justice.”
“We do not condone espionage, nor do we
underestimate the gravity of Pollard’s crime,” the senators wrote.
it is patently clear that Mr. Pollard’s sentence is severely
disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage
The breadth of the signatories is significant because until
recently, most of the pleas for clemency for Pollard, a former US Navy analyst
sentenced to life in 1987 for spying for Israel, have come from
A number of the signatories have served on the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence, including Senators Dennis DeConcini (D-Arizona), Alan
Simpson (RWyoming), Arlen Specter (RPennsylvania), Birch Bayh (DIndiana), Connie
Mack (RFlorida) and David Durenberger (R-Minnesota). That position would have
made them privy to information about Pollard’s crimes that has never been
The letter also cites Pollard’s ill health.
than two decades in the harshest prison conditions, Mr. Pollard’s health is
declining,” it said. “He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions as has
the State of Israel, and by all accounts has served as a model
prisoner.”JTA contributed to this report.