jonathan pollard_311 reuters.
(photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)
Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, who co-chairs US President Barack Obama’s economic commission, became the latest former American official to call upon Obama to release Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard over the weekend.
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Simpson represented Wyoming in the Senate from 1979-1997. He spent many years as a well-respected member of the Republican leadership, serving as Senate Majority Whip from 1985-1987 and Senate Minority Whip from 1987- 1995.
“It is patently clear that Mr. Pollard’s sentence is severely disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage of justice,” Simpson wrote in his letter to the president.
“Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency – as well as a matter of basic compassion and American justice.”
Simpson noted that Pollard “is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence (seven of which were spent in solitary confinement),” despite the fact that “he was indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States – an offense that normally results in a two-tofour year sentence.”
He reminded the president that Pollard “pled guilty under a plea agreement with which he fully complied, but which was ignored by the sentencing judge.”
“After more than two decades in the harshest prison conditions, Mr. Pollard’s health is declining,” Simpson wrote. “He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has been a model prisoner.”
Simpson’s letter to Obama comes in the wake of numerous calls for clemency for Pollard from prominent government officials, high-ranking individuals in the national intelligence arena, leading professionals in the legal world and renowned religious and communal leaders.
President Shimon Peres passed on a personal letter from Pollard to Obama last month asking him to free him in time to spend Pessah with his wife in Jerusalem. Obama did not respond to the letter or to Peres’s personal request to release Pollard.