JERUSALEM (JTA) — Convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard was undergoing observation in a hospital after collapsing in his jail cell.
Pollard collapsed Saturday at the Federal Correction Institution in Butner, NC, after complaining of being in serious pain for several weeks.
He is receiving strong pain management medication, the Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home told JTA in a statement. Doctors are set to hold more consultations and decide on further medical intervention, the statement said.
The committee said that Pollard’s wife, Esther, has been receiving updates about her husband’s condition. She and the committee have called on people to pray for his recovery.
“Because of his long years of incarceration under harsh conditions (including seven years in solitary confinement), inadequate nutrition, and inadequate medical care, Jonathan is suffering from numerous medical conditions,” the committee’s statement said. “The compounded effect of these multiple medical issues is wreaking havoc on his overall health and threatening his ability to survive. His body is simply worn out.”
The statement called for Pollard’s “speedy release from prison so that he can finally get the medical attention he desperately needs, at home, in a humane and safe environment.”
Pollard has suffered from a variety of illnesses since being imprisoned for life in 1986 after accepting a plea bargain for spying for Israel while working as a civilian analyst for the US Navy.
Esther Pollard recently asked President Obama to grant clemency for her husband, since US presidents often grant clemency requests from Thanksgiving through the winter holidays.
The calls to release Pollard have intensified in recent months, with pleas from lawmakers and former top officials of both US political parties.
Pollard has been hospitalized several times during his time in prison. In April, he was rushed to a federal hospital outside the prison on the eve of Passover suffering from an unspecified emergency condition.