The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging President Barack Obama to free Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds, but the White House has stated, "There's no change in our position” on releasing him from a life prison sentence for passing on classified information to Israel.
The offense usually carries a prison sentence of four years or less, and a parade of former and current American officials and politicians have told the president that the sentence was too harsh and that Pollard’s trial was unfair.
Supporters in Israel for freeing Pollard have not given up hope and noted that President Shimon Peres’ office said it has not received an official response to his appeal to President Obama on behalf of Pollard.
President Peres is slated to receive the American “Freedom Medallion” from President Obama, and nearly 40,000 people have signed a petition to Peres that he refuse the medallion unless Obama agrees to release Pollard.
"In the wake of Jonathan Pollard's hospitalization, the Simon Wiesenthal Center urges President Obama to immediately release Pollard on humanitarian grounds," said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean of the major Jewish human rights NGO.
"Whatever his crimes were, 26 years is enough. We hope and pray that President Obama will act swiftly and compassionately and release Mr. Pollard promptly," the Center stated.