Israeli PM appeals to Kerry: Pollard’s life in danger, time has come to release him

When Jonathan Pollard was hospitalized on Friday after losing consciousness, PM Netanyahu asked Kerry if 30 years of imprisonment as a convicted spy was enough.

By Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to release Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned 29 years ago for spying for Israel, in light of the recent deterioration in his health.

Jonathan Pollard during an interview, May 15, 1998.

Jonathan Pollard during an interview at the Federal Correction Institution in Butner, North Carolina, May 15, 1998. – Photo: AP

Netanyahu told Kerry during a phone call Saturday evening that Pollard’s life was in danger. “After 30 years in prison, the time has come for him to be released and allowed to live out the remainder of his life as a free man.”

On Friday, the former U.S. Navy analyst was hospitalized after losing consciousness, his wife told activists working for his release.

A statement issued by the activists said that Pollard’s wife Esther had been notified by the authorities that he had been taken to a hospital outside the prison in which he is being held.

Netanyahu talked with Pollard’s wife Esther on Friday afternoon over the phone, and asked her to wish her husband good health in the name of all Israeli citizens.

“Jonathan is sick, his health in in danger, and after 30 years in prison it’s time he is released. We’ll continue to fight until his release,” the prime minister said in a statement.

American Jewish leaders have also urged the president to free Pollard due to his failing health.

“We urge President Obama, especially in this holiday season and given Mr. Pollard’s worsening health, to take steps immediately to expedite gain Mr. Pollard’s release and to commute his life sentence to the more than 29 years he has already served,” the Conference of Presidents, the umbrella organization of U.S. Jewish groups, said in a statement.


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