Peres asks Obama to free Pollard

PMO officials: Netanyahu also expected to raise Israeli agent's fate in meeting with US president.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
March 5, 2012 18:01
1 minute read.
Israelis protest for Jonathan Pollard in Jerusalem

Israelis protest for Jonathan Pollard in Jerusalem 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

President Shimon Peres asked US President Barack Obama to release Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard when they met at the White House on Sunday, Peres's office said Monday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will also raise Pollard's fate with the US president when they meet Monday, officials in the Prime Ministers Office said.

Netanyahu officially asked Obama to commute Pollard's life sentence to time served in January 2011. Since then, Obama has not responded.

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Pollard's wife Esther urged Obama to respond favorably to the repeated requests for the release of her husband, who has been in prison for more than 26 years. Tuesday will be his 9600th day behind bars.

"Jonathan's release, Mr. President, will be a real medal of freedom for us and for all of Israel!" she said, noting the award Obama intends to give Peres. "Please send Jonathan home with Mr. Netanyahu."

Two senior American Jewish leaders met with Pollard in January in what sources close to Pollard said would be the first of a series of meetings of top Jewish leaders with the imprisoned spy.

American Jewish leaders ignored Pollard for most of his 26 years in prison but over the past couple of years, urging US President Barack Obama to commute his sentence to time served has become a consensus issue for American Jewry.


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