US President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of Boaz (Ronen) Nahmani on Monday. Nahmani, who was jailed in 2015, has served four years of a 20-year sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute synthetic marijuana.
The Israeli-born Nahmani, currently a resident of Aventura, Florida, is the father of five young children and sadly, his wife is suffering from stage 4 cancer. Nahamani's children had written letters to the president begging him to release their father early.
"Our lives have become so sad and miserable," Ariella (11) wrote, as quoted on Ynet. "And now my mother is sick. I am scared of her getting worse. The world will be a place where I won't be able to exist without her."
"My mother is always sad and cries," Oriel (10) wrote. "She is always sick and doesn't have energy. Today is my birthday. I am 10 and half of my life I had no father. Please let my father come. You will make me the happiest kid in the world."
Nahmani was the first person in South Florida to be convicted on charges related to synthetic marijuana. According to a report by Hamodia, many legal experts slammed the court's decision to sentence Nahmani with 20 years of imprisonment as extremely disproportionate.
Nahmani's wife Sylvia took a break from her cancer treatment on Monday to answer a phone call from her husband's lawyer Gary Apfel, informing her that Trump had signed the commutation. “I couldn’t contain myself, I was screaming so loud,” Mrs. Nahmani said. “All the people outside said, ‘Are you okay?’ I said, ‘Thank you, I am perfectly fine, I’m just so happy."
Later, Sylvia told Hamodia, “Everybody is crying; they can’t believe it,” she said. “The children are screaming ‘Abba (Daddy) is coming home! Chasdei Hashem! (The kindness of God.) You see Mommy, G-d answers all the tefillot (prayers).’ I think they are still in shock. I am in shock.”
Apfel was the attorney for Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin, whose sentence was commuted by Trump in December 2017. He was assisted on the Nahmani case by many others, including some of the same people who worked on the Rubashkin case, such as legal expert Alan Dershowitz.
“This is a real case of pikuach nefesh (saving a life), because there are children here whose mother is seriously ill with cancer and whose father would have been in prison, and in the event the mother was to have passed, would have been all alone,” Dershowitz told Hamodia. “So what President Trump did was the right thing; he ought to be praised for saving lives and doing a mitzvah. This was a team effort involving lots of people, including Gary and many others who acted selflessly to bring about this pidyon shivuyim (releasing prisoners). And I think it will be an important part of President Trump’s legacy that he did the right thing for the right reasons.”
Apfel told Hamodia that he was also assisted by "Reps. Mark Meadows (R- N.C.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), 'who exercised true leadership to make this a bipartisan effort,' as well as 'relentless behind-the-scenes efforts' by Harry Adjmi, a leader in the Syrian Jewish community; Dr. Daniel Feuer; Rabbi Menachem Genack; and the Tzedek Association."
Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, director of the prisoner reform and advocacy Tzedek Association told Hamodia, “It is a glorious day for a democratic society when someone given such a grossly unjust sentence is set free. We thank Hashem (God) for his kindnesses, and we thank President Trump for his sense of fairness.”
The Hamodia reported that twenty-two members of Congress, as well as former Sen. Orrin Hatch, signed letters to Trump urging the commutation, as did 35 former government legal officials, including former Attorneys General Michael Mukasey and Edwin Meese, Deputy AG Larry Thompson, Acting AG Stuart Gerson, FBI Director Louis Freeh, Solicitor General Seth Waxman and other judges and prosecutors, including the late Robert Morgenthau.
The White House published a statement: "Today, President Donald J. Trump commuted the prison sentence of Ronen Nahmani, an action strongly supported by many notable leaders from across the political spectrum, like representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Mark Meadows.
"Mr. Nahmani is a non-violent, first-time offender with no criminal history. He has five young children at home and his wife is suffering from terminal cancer. These extenuating circumstances underscore the urgency of his request for clemency."