Israel PM urges US to free ´ill´ spy Pollard (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 04/08/12)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on the
United States to release Jonathan Pollard from prison, after reports
of a deterioration in the American-Israeli spy´s health.
"It is time to release Pollard. The Festival of Freedom of all the
Jews should turn into Pollard´s private one," Netanyahu said in
remarks relayed by his office, using a synonym for the Passover
holiday Jews are currently celebrating.
"I have done much for his release, and will continue to act for it."
On Friday, Israeli media reported that Pollard was rushed to hospital
near his North Carolina prison. Israel´s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona
Metzger took the opportunity of a Sunday holiday visit paid by
President Shimon Peres to convey an appeal to the US leadership for
the freedom of the 57-year-old Pollard.
"We call on the US president that in such a situation, he will pardon
Pollard and realise that after 27 years it is time to set this Jew
A spokesman for the rabbi told AFP that Metzger has recently been
holding talks with senior officials in the White House, including
Vice President Joe Biden, and that Metzger felt that their stance on
Pollard had "softened."
"The rabbi´s request is that from hospital, Pollard be discharged to
freedom," the spokesman said.
Peres told Pollard´s wife Esther on Sunday that he was "bothered and
concerned by the recent reports" about Pollard´s health, and said he
would ask President Barack Obama "to positively consider releasing
Pollard," in light of his medical condition
Pollard, a former US Navy analyst, passed thousands of secret
documents about American spy activities in the Arab world to Israel
between May 1984 and his arrest in November 1985.
He was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995 and was officially
recognised by the Jewish state as an Israeli spy in 1998.
Israelis say that Pollard´s punishment and the long-standing US
refusal to reduce his sentence have been particularly harsh, given
that he gave information to a friendly nation. (Copyright © 2012
Agence France Presse. 04/08/12)
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