Reports False That Pollard Moved To New Prison

The Jerusalem Post - June 6, 1993

Jonathan Pollard, the former US naval intelligence officer convicted of spying for Israel, has not been moved from his maximum-security prison in Marion, Illinois, despite reports that appeared several weeks ago in various publications, including The Jerusalem Post.

Rabbi Avi Weiss, a longtime friend and Pollard's personal rabbi, visited Pollard on Tuesday in his cell at the federal penitentiary. "He's still in Marion, and he's still suffering there," Weiss said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

Although Pollard had been notified months ago that he would be moved to a less strict prison, Weiss reported that Pollard told him on Tuesday, "There's no telling when or if I will be moved."

Weiss noted that the erroneous report of Pollard's move may have hurt the ongoing campaign to secure a presidential commutation of his sentence, the only recourse now open to Pollard after the US Supreme Court refused to hear his case last October.

Pollard could be up for parole as early as 1995, but Weiss reported that his lawyers do not believe parole will be granted, given the documents in his file from high US government officials.

Weiss also said he was concerned that some people who visit Pollard may be using the prisoner to forward their own agendas.

He cited the case of one rabbi who visited Pollard this spring, who later told reporters that Pollard planned to live in Bnei Brak after his release and study full-time in a yeshiva in Mea Shearim.

That story was "taken out of context," Weiss maintained. Pollard hopes to live in Israel after his release and devote several hours a week to yeshiva study "as a matter of principle," Weiss recounted.

"For Jonathan, aliya to Israel is a privilege," Weiss continued. "Any place in Israel would be fine with him, although of course he would prefer to live in Jerusalem."

That visitor also told reporters that Pollard was "happy" in prison, which Weiss says is quite far from the truth.

"It is a very difficult place," he continued. "One who has not been there cannot imagine what it is like." Just three prisoners, including Pollard, remain in K-unit, the prison's harshest location.