The time has come to release Jonathan Pollard from prison, former US assistant secretary of defense Lawrence Korb said Tuesday, joining a growing chorus of senior officials and former officials calling on President Barack Obama to pardon the imprisoned Israeli spy.
After nearly three decades in prison, Pollard no longer poses a threat to the US or its military secrets, Korb said following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Effie Lahav, a leading activist for Pollard’s release.
Ahead of Obama’s trip to Israel in late March, over 100,000 people signed a petition calling on the American president to pardon and release the 59-year-old, who started serving out a life sentence for espionage in 1987.
“I’ve raised [the issue] in previous meetings and I’ll do everything possible to convey an unequivocal message: Jonathan Pollard must be released from jail for humanitarian reasons,” President Shimon Peres said last month, as he called on Obama to act on the matter.
The Jewish Agency also called for a presidential pardon for the convicted spy, as did former chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who urged Obama to let Pollard “live the rest of his life with his wife, Esther, in Israel, which has granted him citizenship.”
Pollard “has now served 28 years of a life sentence in American prisons. A few short weeks from now, he will mark his 10,000th day in jail. Both he and Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse. We have learned our lesson and have been living with the painful consequences for nearly three decades,” the online petition stated.