Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Movement for Jonathan Pollard Release Widens

Listeners to the Hugh Hewitt Show some weeks back heard Dennis Prager argue persuasively in favor of a Presidential commutation of the life sentence of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who was imprisoned in 1984 following his conviction for espionage. Hugh had quizzed Dennis that day because the Cabinet of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had voted to formally request that President Obama commute Pollard's life sentence.

Now a letter signed by 500 rabbis and prominent Jewish and non-Jewish religious and communal leaders has been sent to President Obama, supporting his immediate release. As reported by Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post, the letter reads in part:
Mr. Pollard is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence, having been indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States. We certainly do not condone his crime, nor do we underestimate the gravity of the offense. But it is patently clear that the sentence was and remains terribly disproportionate - the average punishment is a 2-4 year prison term - and (as several federal judges have noted) constitutes a gross miscarriage of justice.
Public support for Pollard's release has come from such diverse figures of the political and religious right and left as Pastor John Hagee, Gary Bauer, Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, Benjamin Hooks of the NAACP, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olsen. As the letter to Presidential Obama further notes:

Perhaps most noteworthy, similar support has come from those who have seen the classified information of the actual damage caused including former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, Congressman Anthony Weiner, and former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini.
It is important to note that neither the Israeli government, nor the signers of the letter to the President, are requesting a Presidential pardon for Pollard. He should remain a convicted felon, but he should not remain in prison after 25 years. He did the crime, but he has more than done the time.


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