Pollard Says U.S. Jailers Tortured Him, Asks To Be Prisoner of Zion

Yuval Yoaz - Haaretz - May 8, 2005

In an appeal to the Supreme Court, Jonathan Pollard, serving a life sentence for spying for Israel, demanded Sunday that Israel recognize him as a Prisoner of Zion, stating that his U.S. jailers cruelly tortured him with electric shocks and blasts of freezing cold water.

"We are asking the Supreme Court to review the Israeli government's betrayal of Pollard," said his attorney, Nitzana Darshan-Leitner said.

"The government's refusal to grant Pollard the status of a Prisoner of Zion is yet another symptom of its fear of the Americans, and it permits it to ignore the torture and abuse that our agent suffered in the U.S."

Pollard was arrested in 1985 in the United States and in March 1987 was convicted of espionage for Israel and transmitting classified information to a foreign country, and was sentenced to an unspecified life sentence.

In 1996, after a long legal struggle, Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship and in 1998, following a second petition, he was recognized by Israel as an agent who worked on behalf of Israel's Defense Ministry.

"Since the start of his sentence Jonathan Pollard has been subjected to long periods of cruel torture," Pollard stated in his appeal against the Authority for Prisoners of Zion in the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.

Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in the United States for spying for Israel, was "held in the Louisburg prison naked in solitary confinement in freezing temperatures for many weeks.

"His clothes and glasses were taken from him. He didn't receive a bed or blankets, but only a cement slab to sleep on," the appeal stated.

Granting Prisoner of Zion status would promise Pollard and his family certain rights, including compensation, and would bind the government to certain legal obligations.

In June 2004 the government rejected Pollard's request to receive the status of a Prisoner of Zion status. Last December the appeal against the government decision was again rejected. At time, the government argued that the "U.S. was not an enemy state, but Israel's greatest friend."

Pollard's appeal shed light on acts of torture to which he stated he had been subjected.

"Pollard was put in a special cell and seated in a steel chair that was fixed to the floor. His hands and feet were shackled to the chair, and then freezing cold fierce jets of water were trained on him for almost an hour."

In a different prison in Springfield, Pollared said, he received electric shocks, not as a means of punishment, but as "a sign of warning" to make him obey wardens' orders.

The petition, submitted by attorney Darshan-Leitner, claimed that according to the legal definition, even the former Soviet Union could not have been considered an "enemy state," but Israel still granted Jews imprisoned there the status of Prisoners of Zion.

  • See Also: The Bagatz Page