Jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard released from US prison

Published November 20th, 2015 - 09:58 GMT

Pollard was, not set free, so he still 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, amid other conditions that are expected to be revealed Friday.

The official Free Pollard campaign and Pollard’s attorneys have declined to comment on the parole conditions, but they did encourage US congress menbers 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.”

“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 head of the Free Pollard campaign, Effi Lahav, said the day is bittersweet, because Pollard suffered through “10,956 black days” in prison. Lahav said Pollard entered prison as a healthy young man and is leaving as a 61-year-old sick man.

“It’s a happy day that he’s getting out of jail and I hope he gets to live a normal life, but I’d be happier if he was released a decade ago,” former US deputy defense secretary Lawrence Korb, who served at the time of Pollard’s sentencing and has actively tried to bring about his release, told Army Radio Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked US President Barack Obama when he met with him last week to intervene on Pollard’s behalf and let him move to Israel.

The US president did not respond to the request.

Netanyahu has instructed ministers and MKs to remain low-key about the release, apparently to not anger Obama. He asked them not to greet Pollard when he leaves prison.

Israeli officials are concerned that too warm a celebration over his release might hurt efforts to persuade the US government to let him leave for Israel sooner rather than later.

Asked whether Netanyahu had issued his ministers with instructions regarding public statements on Pollard, Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett told Army Radio on Thursday: “We were asked not to speak expansively.”

As Post reported exclusively a year ago, an apartment had been rented for Pollard in the New York area and employment had been obtained for him as an analyst at an investment firm.

By Gil Hoffman

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