Lawyer lambasts Pollard report

The Jerusalem Post - September 3, 2009

Jonathan Pollard's lawyer, attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, strongly criticized Thursday's report by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on the case of the convicted spy. According to Darshan-Leitner, "The report is an additional cover-up of the failures of successive Israeli governments on the issue of Pollard's release."

"No government at any time has made any effort to release Pollard, throughout all the years of opportunity that he has been in prison -

24 years

," said Pollard's attorney.

Darshan-Leitner asserted that the government has abandoned Pollard.

"Pollard, an Israeli agent, tried to use all legal means at his disposal with the US authorities, including numerous requests for a retrial, and he has no choice but to depend on the [Israeli] government to release him," said Darshan-Leitner.

"However," added Pollard's attorney, "the Israeli government still pretends that all of Pollard's activities took place in an operational framework that was directed by [former senior Mossad official and Pollard's handler] Rafi Eitan under special authority, and not by the upper echelons of the state, and leaves him to deal alone with the results of this failure."

The attorney demanded that Lindenstrauss's entire report be released to the public.

"The fact that the overwhelming majority of the report is otherwise confidential, means that it contains dark secrets surrounding the Pollard affair that the government does not want the public to know," she claimed.

"The Israeli public must demand that the report be released in its entirety, including its classified parts, in order that the public can decide if there was indeed an effort on the part of the Israeli government to release Pollard, or if all of the successive administrations have relegated Pollard to the dustbin."

The new report said the Pollard issue was not neglected by consecutive Israeli governments, but suggested the convicted spy had likely been denied due legal process during his trial in the United States. The report refutes complaints by Pollard's family and friends, who have accused the government of not doing enough to secure his release.

While most of the report issued by Lindenstrauss remains classified, an abstract of the report was released for publication on Thursday afternoon.

Pollard was convicted in a US court of spying for Israel and has been in jail since November 1985. An American citizen, Pollard received Israeli citizenship in 1995. From May 1998 he was acknowledged as an agent working for Israel.

During his work on the matter, Lindenstrauss met with Pollard's attorneys and with former ministers, prime ministers and other government officials who worked to try and secure his release. He also met with Pollard's father, Prof. Morris Pollard.

The state comptroller also ordered a professional legal opinion from, among others, Prof. Kenneth Mann, a well-known expert in US and criminal law. Based on Mann's opinion, Lindenstrauss suggests that Pollard apparently did not enjoy his constitutional right for due legal process. He cited the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment, which articulates the basic rights of a person suspected of a crime.

Lindenstrauss found that consecutive US administrations refused to budge when it came to Pollard, with the main reason cited as the US intelligence community's strong opposition to his release, claiming it would be detrimental to US security interests.

The report by Lindenstrauss covers the administrations of prime ministers Binyamin Netanyahu (during his first term), Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert. He said all four discussed Pollard in meetings with US presidents, but said these talks should have been documented. Lindenstrauss offered to establish a protocol where such discussions, in the future, would be recorded.

"Such documents will provide an aggregate of insights on what has already been done to secure his release, and they can be used to draft future plans," Lindenstrauss states. According to the state comptroller, Israel also contacted congressmen and members of the US justice system, but their efforts were in vain.

Pollard's case is "closed, but not resolved" he said. "The prime minister and his government must do all in their power to release Pollard... the State of Israel owes Pollard the mitzvah of releasing captives and it's better late than never, in light of his frail health," he concluded.

This article can also be read here.

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