Hillary Urged To Help Pollard

Hikind leads hundreds at rally

December 6, 1999 - New York Newsday - Dan Janison

Speakers at a Midtown demonstration yesterday took turns appealing to and denouncing first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in an effort to get her to support clemency for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

Leading a news conference and demonstration by hundreds in front of Clinton's Senate headquarters in Manhattan, Assemb. Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) said he wanted Clinton to intervene on Pollard's behalf "because it's the right thing to do." He also condemned as a "disaster" Clinton's recent meeting with Suha Arafat in Ramallah, West Bank, in which Clinton did not immediately criticize Arafat after she said Israel had poisoned Arab women and children through the use of tear gas and other chemicals.

Pollard, a former civilian analyst for the U.S. Navy, was convicted of espionage in 1985 for giving Israel top-secret documents.

He is serving a life sentence.

Hikind warned that if the Senate election were held today, Clinton would lose "by a landslide" to Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has said that Pollard's life sentence was disproportionate to other sentences for spying.

Giuliani reiterated his position yesterday, saying Pollard is spending "a lot more time in jail than is normally the case for the kind of crime for which he was convicted." Several elected Democrats have also criticized Pollard's life sentence, Hikind noted, based on a plea deal Pollard reached with prosecutors in the 1980's that supporters say was supposed to keep him from a life term. Others caught spying for allied nations have received lesser penalties, they say.

Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the Clinton, said "Hillary has not taken a position on the issue. Beyond that I don't have a comment." Hikind said yesterday that Clinton is "lucky she has a whole year left to do something." "Maybe she feels he's a spy, let him rot in jail," (see Facts Page ) Hikind told protesters gathered on Seventh Avenue between East 34th and 35th Streets. "She needs to take a position. We want Jonathan free, and that'll speak louder than anything.

"Let her start showing some leadership and some courage and then let's see what happens," he said.

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