Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard leaves a federal courthouse in New York.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a bid by Jonathan Pollard, the former US Navy intelligence officer who served 30 years in prison after being convicted of spying for Israel, to relax his parole conditions.
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan said the US Parole Commission acted within its discretion in requiring Pollard to wear an electronic tracking device, obey a curfew and allow his computers to be monitored.
Eliot Lauer, Pollard’s attorney, told The Jerusalem Post that he was “disappointed in two respects. First the result. Second in that the court did not step out of the checklist and confront the commission on the manifest injustice of the onerous and unnecessary restrictions.”
The Free Pollard campaign responded that the timing and substance of the Second Circuit’s denial of Pollard’s appeal to lift his parole restrictions “reflect politics, not due process.”
“The court’s decision was handed down with unprecedented speed obviously calculated to occur simultaneously with President’s Trump’s departure from Israel and with Yom Yerushalyim,” the campaign said. “Clearly the timing of this decision, which normally takes months but was delivered less than a week after oral arguments, was intended as a slap across Israel’s face.
“Coming on the heels of the US president’s compromise of an Israeli intelligence operation and the consequent endangerment of the life of an Israeli agent, this unambiguous insult to Israel via the Second Circuit Court is revealing of the new US administration’s continuing tolerance of an anti-Israel agenda by those elements in the American defense and intelligence communities hostile to the US-Israel special relationship,” the statement continued.
“This officially accepted belligerence will not be camouflaged by photo-ops and heart-warming speeches.
Unless and until Jonathan Pollard is allowed to come home to Israel, the US intelligence establishment’s warin- the-shadows against Israel will continue unabated,” the campaign concluded.
Pollard pleaded guilty in 1986 to conspiracy to commit espionage in connection with providing Israeli contacts with hundreds of classified documents.
His lawyers have said his parole conditions have prevented him from getting a job.
On Sunday, Pollard appealed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bring up the matter of his release during his meeting with US President Donald Trump on Monday.
Netanyahu’s spokesman declined to reveal whether or not he did.
Pollard made the comments during conversations he held with close friends over the weekend. His wife, Esther, recounted them to the Post.
“As much as Trump needs to be held to his promise to move the embassy, it is just as important that the prime minister keep his promise to bring an agent home,” Pollard reportedly said to the friends during the weekend.
Last week, Pollard appealed US District Judge Katherine Forrest’s decision to keep in place the parole conditions that were imposed when he was released from prison in November 2015, after serving 30 years of a life sentence for spying for Israel.
The conditions prevent Pollard from leaving his New York home after 7 p.m. and before 7 a.m., compel him to submit any computer he uses for inspection and require him to wear a GPS monitoring device that forces him to violate the Sabbath.Reuters contributed to this report.