(photo credit: COURTESY OF JUSTICE FOR JONATHAN POLLARD)
A day after The Jerusalem Post reported that the US Federal Bureau of Prisons had changed Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard’s projected release date on its website from November 21, 2015, to life, it was changed back.
Pollard and his wife, Esther, had expressed hope on Sunday that efforts to bring about his release would be reinvigorated by removing what they saw as false hope people had that he would automatically be released next year on the 30th anniversary of his November 21, 1985, arrest.
Parole is near certain to be denied because Pollard’s judge, his prosecutor, and the US government are on record in his sentencing docket as emphatically against early release at any date.
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. Barring parole, Pollard’s sole legal redress would be a commutation of his sentence by the US president.
Ed Ross, a Bureau of Prisons spokesman, told JTA that both decisions were “administrative” in the sense that Pollard’s status had not changed, but added that he did not know if either decision – to change the listing to life on and then back again on Monday – was in error.
Knowledgeable sources close to the Pollard case said they saw both changes on the website as calculated, with the change back a response to numerous media inquiries.
Pollard’s close associates remained firm in their conviction that the US government has no intention of releasing him in 13 months.
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They maintained that in the absence of a firm, determined, and immediate Israeli government initiative supported by American Jewish leaders, the November 2015 date remained virtually meaningless, adding that even if that date was relevant, it is possible that Pollard’s poor health would prevent him from living that long.
American presidents tend to issue a series of commutations and pardons during Thanksgiving, which falls this year on November 27, shortly after Pollard enters the 30th year of his life sentence.
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