Peres Vows to Keep Fighting for Pollard

President Shimon Peres will continue to lobby for Jonathan Pollard's release despite being rebuffed four times by US president Barack Obama

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Shimon Peres and Jonathan Pollard
Shimon Peres and Jonathan Pollard
INN archive photo

President Shimon Peres on Tuesday reaffirmed his commitment to seeking clemency for convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard who is serving a prison term of life without parole in the United States.

"I am committed to continue working with all my might for Jonathan's release. I considered it my duty both morally, and because of the role I fulfill," Peres told Pollard's wife, Esther.

Peres in June, who was in Washington DC to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, asked US president Barack Obama to commute Pollard's sentence to time served during a private meeting. It was the fourth request on Pollard's behalf that Peres has made this year. 

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 an ally (Israel). He has been in increasingly poor health, and has been hospitalized several times over the past year.

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 US 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 many American Jews.

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