US government website erases 2015 Pollard release

Projected release date now written as 'LIFE.'

Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - October 5, 2014

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard and his wife Esther expressed hope Sunday that efforts to bring about his release will be reinvigorated by the US Federal Bureau of Prisons changing his projected release date on its website from November 21, 2015 to LIFE.

The Pollards believed that the website before it was changed had given people false hope that he would automatically be released next year on the 30th anniversary of his November 21, 1985 arrest. Pollard is technically eligible to request parole on the anniversary, but parole is not relevant for him because his judge, his prosecutor and the US government are on record in his sentencing docket as emphatically denying early release at any date, making it certain he would be refused.

Pollard's lawyers would not be able to effectively contest those recommendations because they have been prevented from seeing the classified portions of his sentencing file. The lawyers received beyond top secret clearance from the government for the purpose of seeing the file and then they were not permitted to see it because a court ruled that they lacked a "need to know." The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, leaving Pollard no legal redress other than a commuting of his sentence by US president Barack Obama.

"Now that it is clear that the 2015 release date was a pernicious lie--as Jonathan and I have been saying all along," Esther Pollard told The Jerusalem Post. "We expect this to be a wake up call to our leaders in Israel and the American Jewish community to finally step up and do whatever is necessary to rescue Jonathan. ?He remains hopeful but he? is? ?in extremely poor health. Serious, determined intervention to end his unjust, grossly disproportionate sentence cannot wait."

At the time of Pollard's sentencing, a life sentence was 45 years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Obama to commute Pollard's sentence when they met at the White House Wednesday.

Former president Shimon Peres, who has a better relationship with Obama than Netanyahu, also asked the American president to release him, and he vowed to continue to work for Pollard's freedom when he left his post. American presidents tend to issue a series of commutations and pardons during the Thanksgiving holiday, which falls this year on November 27.