(photo credit: COURTESY OF JUSTICE FOR JONATHAN POLLARD)
Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard and his wife, Esther, expressed hope on Sunday that efforts to bring about his release will be reinvigorated by the US Federal Bureau of Prisons changing his projected release date on its website from November 21, 2015, to life.
The Pollards believed that the website before it was changed had given people false hope that he would automatically be released next year on the 30th anniversary of his November 21, 1985, arrest.
Pollard is technically eligible to request parole on the anniversary, but parole is not relevant for him because his judge, his prosecutor and the US government are on record in his sentencing docket as emphatically against early release at any date, making it certain he would be refused.
Pollard’s lawyers would not be able to effectively contest those recommendations, because they have been prevented from seeing the classified portions of his sentencing file. The lawyers received beyond top secret clearance from the US government for the purpose of seeing the file and then they were not permitted to see it, because a court ruled that they lacked a “need to know.”
The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, leaving Pollard no legal redress other than a commutation of his sentence by the US president.
“Now that it is clear that the 2015 release date was a pernicious lie – as Jonathan and I have been saying all along,” Esther Pollard told The Jerusalem Post. “We expect this to be a wake-up call to our leaders in Israel and the American Jewish community to finally step up and do whatever is necessary to rescue Jonathan.
He remains hopeful, but he is in extremely poor health.
Serious, determined intervention to end his unjust, grossly disproportionate sentence cannot wait.”
She said that for prisoners who received life sentences at the time of her husbands incarceration, life sentences were for 45 years.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked US President Barack Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence when they met at the White House on Wednesday. Then-president Shimon Peres, who had a better relationship with Obama than Netanyahu does, also asked the American president to release him, and he vowed to continue to work for Pollard’s freedom when he left his post.
American presidents tend to issue a series of commutations and pardons during Thanksgiving, which falls this year on November 27.
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