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Peres to Plead for Pollard – Again

President Shimon Peres plans to deliver a letter from 80 MKs to US President Barack Obama asking for Jonathan Pollard's release.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 4/5/2012, 5:00 PM

Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
Flash 90

President Shimon Peres will meet Sunday with MKs Uri Ariel and Ronit Tirosh who will hand him a letter for US president Barak Obama asking for the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

The letter bears the signatures of 80 Israeli lawmakers. Peres's office told Arutz Sheva that the president working hand in hand with the leaders of the Freedom for Paollard Committee to maximize efforts to secure his release.

Last week, Peres bureau chief Efrat Duvdevani and other senior staffers made arrangements for the President to receive and deliver the letter.

The President's Office noted that Peres will next meet with Obama in June to formally request Pollard's release on behalf of the citizens of Israel.

Peres also requested Pollard's release during his last meeting with Obama, following the AIPAC conference in early March.

Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy, has been serving a life sentence since 1987 for one count of conspiracy to deliver national security information to a foreign government.

Pollard told Wolf Blitzer that year that he provided Israel with satellite photography of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters in Tunisia, specific capabilities of Libya's air defenses, and "the pick of U.S. intelligence about Arab and Islamic conventional and unconventional military activity."

Other's convicted of the same crime, including those who pass intelligence data to hostile nations, have been given average sentences of 7 years or less in prison.

Israel granted Pollard citizenship in 1995, but denies he was an Israeli agent. In 1998, Israeli officials said Pollard had worked for an "unauthorized rogue operation."

The disparity of Pollard's sentence with those of others convicted of the same crime has turned his lengthy incarceration into an issue for American Jewry.

Jewish and Israeli leaders have been joined by numerous US officials and lawmakers in calling for Pollard's release.

In 2010 representatives Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) wrote a letter which "notes the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people."

On November 18, 2010, 39 members of Congress submitted a Plea Of Clemency to the White House on behalf of Pollard, asking the president for his immediate release.

"Such an exercise of the clemency power would not in any way imply doubt about his guilt, nor cast any aspersions on the process by which he was convicted," they wrote.

Former CIA director James Woolsey has also endorsed Pollard's release on two conditions: that he show contrition and decline any profits from books or other projects linked to the case.