Peres to Obama: Release Pollard
President Shimon Peres sends letter to American counterpart asking him to grant clemency to the ailing spy
President Shimon Peres on Monday sent a personal letter to US President Barack Obama in which he asked him to grant clemency to convicted spy Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds.
Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison, was taken to a federal hospital on Passover eve following deterioration in his health condition.
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In the letter, Peres thanked Obama for his loyalty to the Jewish State and for celebrating Passover with his Jewish advisers, but noted that Israel is very concerned about Pollard’s deteriorating condition.
Pollard, a United States Navy analyst convicted of passing information to Israel, has been jailed for almost 27 years. In recent years, the convicted spy has suffered from various health problems and required medical attention frequently. According to report, Pollard had complained of severe pain days prior to his latest hospitalization.
After hearing of the letter Peres sent Obama, Pollard’s wife Esther thanked Peres, saying: „I thank the president for acting to save Jonathan’s life. He is still hospitalized and his condition is still unstable. I want to appeal to President Obama – please let Jonathan rehabilitate what is left of his life. Please don’t let him end his life in jail.”
On Sunday, Peres met with Pollard’s wife, Esther, and promised to „act swiftly” to secure her husband’s release.
Also on Sunday, the president met with Shas’ spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who urged him to push for Pollard’s release.
Peres is expected to receive the presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in June, but a petition signed by more than 10,000 Israeli citizens, including artists and political figures, urged the president to work towards securing Pollard’s release beforehand.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report