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December 23, 2013 11:05 am

U.S. Official: ‘Jonathan Pollard Will Continue to Serve Out His Sentence’

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

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Demonstrators hold signs of Jonathan Pollard as they attend a protest calling for his release outside the house of President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, where Peres met with U.S. congressmen, on August 17, 2011. Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Despite recent revelations of U.S. spying on Israel, an American official told Israeli daily Ma’ariv that “Jonathan Pollard will continue to serve out his sentence as a result of being convicted of espionage in 1987.” The anonymous government source went on to say that official U.S. policy has not been swayed in the least by the recently renewed strong criticism that Pollard’s continued incarceration has generated inside of Israel, according to the Ma’ariv report.

In recent days, senior members of the Israeli government, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein and even opposition leaders have united in calling on the United States to release Pollard as a result of the exposure of U.S. espionage on the Jewish state

Meanwhile, the chairpersons of the Knesset’s Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard, MKs Ayelet Shaked and Nachman Shai, appealed on Monday to Speaker of the Knesset Edelstein to authorize the convening of a hearing, to be held in front of the entire Israeli parliament, on the subject of Pollard’s release.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that Israel is working continuously to convince President Barack Obama to free Pollard.

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  • I hold no brief for Jonathan Pollard who was arrogant and stupid. However, it is so ironic that a country that contains a specific caveat in its Constitution against “cruel and unusual punishment” should be so keen to inflict just such punishments on convicted criminals, making them wait for as long as Pollard has been in jail and then executing them (the only country in the civilized world to continue to use capital punishment). The countries of western Europe, including the UK, are continually debating, discussing and working out ways to deter and prevent crime and punish criminals humanely, but when I lived in the USA, all the talk was about “three strikes and you’re out!”. Remember folks, there but for the grace of G-d go you and I, every time I am in court (which is often, I am a court interpreter in the UK and for four years I was a court interpreter in California) I can picture myself as a defendant for something I didn’t do (or maybe for something I did do, who knows?).

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