Pollard Sues Israeli Government Over U.S.' Breach of Secret Agreement

Shurat Hadin Law Centre - Media Release - August 14, 2005

Imprisoned Israeli intelligence agent Jonathan Pollard has filed a petition in the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem today demanding that the government be compelled to secure his immediate release from the United States where he has been incarcerated since his arrest in Washington in 1985. The petition asks the Israeli Court to investigate the United States' violation of a secret agreement between then Prime Minister Shimon Peres and American Secretary of State George Shultz. Pursuant to the 1985 agreement, Israel undertook to return to American investigators all of the classified documents transferred by Pollard to the Israeli government and in exchange the Justice Department committed itself not to utilize these materials in its prosecution of the Israeli agent.

However, in violation of the agreement, American officials immediately used the returned documents against Pollard, forcing him to cooperate and to enter into a plea agreement.

The Government of Israel never raised a protest over the United States' blatant breach of the terms of the secret agreement; and NEVER in two decades informed Pollard or his lawyers that the Justice Department was prohibited from utilizing the documents in its interrogations and prosecution.

Pollard was not held incommunicado at the time and Israel had full access to him via his attorneys. There was no excuse then, or for the next 2 decades for Israel's failure to inform Pollard or his attorneys that the U.S. was not permitted to use the returned documents against him.

To this day Israel has never protested that the U.S. obtained Pollard's life sentence on the basis of INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE.

Moreover, the Justice Department and then U.S. Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger further violated the secret agreement by utilizing the returned documents as exhibits in their arguments to the sentencing court that Pollard should receive a life term. Thus, the Justice Department would never have been able to convict Pollard at a trial nor obtain a life sentence for him had Israel insisted that the United States honor the terms of the agreement.

"Not only did Israel fail to act to release Pollard the moment he was arrested, the Government on its own provided the American prosecutors the materials that the United States needed to convict him and impose a life sentence."

The High Court petition demands that Israel finally confront the United States over its violation of the secret agreement and act to secure Pollard's immediate release.

Jonathan Pollard is represented in the High Court by Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. Attorney Larry Dub is 'of counsel'.

The existence and terms of the secret agreement were only brought to Pollard's attention in 2000, after the late Israeli Minister Rechavam Ze'evi discovered documentation referring to it in a Knesset Commission report buried in a government archive and provided the imprisoned agent with a copy.

Pollard, a former civilian analyst for American Naval intelligence, was arrested in Washington, D.C. on November 21, 1985 on charges of having passed classified information to Israel. He is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally.

On September 5, 2005, the High Court has scheduled a hearing for Pollard's earlier petition demanding that Israel declare him a "Prisoner of Zion."

According to his attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: "The refusal of the Israeli government to confront Washington over the violations of the secret agreement is symptomatic of its fear of the Americans and permits it to continue to ignore the violations of his civil rights by the United States. Had Israel reacted 20 years ago when the violations occurred, or minimally informed Pollard of the agreement, he would never have received the harsh sentence he did. Israel must be compelled to treat Pollard as it would any other captured agent and spare no effort in demanding that the U.S. immediately release him."

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