Former American Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard free to leave US

In July 2016, Jonathan Pollard (left) and his lawyer left New York Federal Court.

Former American Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard, in the midst of a standoff between Washington and Israel, finished serving his sentence on Friday, November 20 and is now free to leave the United States, according to the US Department of Justice.

This former US Navy analyst was arrested in 1985 for espionage for the benefit of the Jewish state. The affair had sparked an acute crisis between the two countries, which had subsided after Israel’s promise to end all its espionage activities on American soil.

After 30 years in prison, Jonathan Pollard was released on parole in 2015, with an obligation to wear an electronic bracelet and to respect a curfew, and a ban on leaving the United States.

National hero in Israel

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“To date, he has served five years on parole”, said in a statement the Probation Commission, an agency of the Ministry of Justice. After reviewing her file, she “Considered that there was nothing to indicate that he risked violating the law and (…) ordered the conditions imposed on his release to be lifted”.

Mr. Pollard, who is now 66, has regularly expressed his wish to move to Israel, where he obtained his nationality and where he is seen as a national hero by part of the population.

“We are delighted that our client is finally free of all restrictions, and we hope to see him soon in Israel”, commented in a press release his lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman. It is, according to them, “Happy to finally be able to help his wife”, which fights cancer.

Arm wrestling over forty years

His case was the subject of a standoff between Washington and Israel. The Israeli government has assured that it has regularly requested since 2015 that he be able to join Israel, without success so far.

Read also Jonathan Pollard, “traitor” for Americans, “martyr” for Israel

Senior Pentagon or CIA officials have never forgiven the spy for the mass of classified defense-secret information delivered for money, and in the midst of the Cold War, to the Israeli strategic ally of the United States .

He allegedly helped Israel bomb the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), then exiled in Tunisia, in 1985, and assassinate PLO number two, Abu Jihad, in Tunis in 1988.

The World with AFP


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