Attorneys for Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard announced on Friday that they are planning to appeal the conditions of his parole just hours after he was released from a federal penitentiary following a 30-year incarceration.
As per the terms of his parole, Pollard has to check in regularly with a parole officer for a year and can be returned to prison for poor behavior. He is not permitted to leave the United States for five years, to give interviews or to go online. He must also wear electronic monitoring devices that enable the government to track his whereabouts.
The official Free Pollard campaign and Pollard’s attorneys have declined to comment on the parole conditions, but they did encourage US congress members to ask the Justice Department to ease them. World renowned criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who represented Pollard in the past, told The Jerusalem Post
that although such parole conditions were not unprecedented, they are “totally irrational.”
Netanyahu statement on Pollard release
“He has no classified information, so he should be able to talk to the press, go online and go to Israel, where he’s a citizen,” Dershowitz said. “It’s an abuse of the discretion that parole authorities have in a case like this. Frankly, I think part of the reason they don’t want him to go to Israel is that they don’t want him to be a hero there or influence Israeli politics with his conservative views. It’s a political decision, and with him, it’s been about politics all along.”
"The Parole Commission has imposed conditions of parole that are unreasonable and unlawful," Pollard's lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, said in a statement. "Accordingly, we have today commenced a proceeding in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging these illegal conditions and asking the court to vacate them."
The attorneys said that to buttress their argument, they would cite a written statement from the Justice Department acknowledging its view that it was "reasonably probable" that Pollard would not commit further crimes following his release from prison.
"Notwithstanding its conclusion – necessary to granting parole – that it is not reasonably probable that Mr. Pollard will commit any further crimes, the Parole Commission has imposed onerous and oppressive conditions of parole," the lawyers said. "These include a requirement that Mr. Pollard wear an electronic bracelet at all times for GPS tracking of his whereabouts, as well as the unfettered monitoring and inspection of Mr. Pollard’s computers as well as those of any employer who chooses to hire him."
The authorities imposed these conditions on Pollard "to ensure that he does not commit further crimes, specifically the disclosure of classified information," they said.
"The notion that, having fought for and finally obtained his release after serving 30 years in prison, Mr. Pollard will now disclose stale 30-year old information to anyone is preposterous," the statement read. "Apart from the fact that the information is useless, disclosing it will result in Mr. Pollard’s swift return to prison to serve out his life sentence."