White House rejects Peres´ request to free Pollard (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST.COM STAFF, GREER FAY CASHMAN 04/10/12)
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The White House on Monday rejected a request by President Shimon
Peres to release Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard from prison, AFP
Peres sent an urgent personal request to US President Barack Obama on
Monday in which he officially asked him to favorably consider
commuting the life sentence of Pollard on humanitarian grounds.
But White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told reporters that the United
States had not altered its stance on keeping Pollard behind bars, AFP
reported. "There´s no change in our position," Vietor said.
In his missive to Obama, Peres thanked him for the great friendship
that his government has shown to the State of Israel and emphasized
the concern felt in Israel in general and by members of Pollard´s
family in particular about his deteriorating health.
Peres noted that in view of Pollard´s poor health coupled with the 26
and a half years that he had served, it would be viewed as a supreme
humanitarian gesture if Obama would commute his sentence.
The president kept his promise to Pollard´s wife Esther to use all
his influence as quickly as possible to ensure that her husband is
not returned to prison when he leaves a nearby hospital where he is
being treated for multiple ailments.
"To return him to prison would be a death sentence," she said.
The head of the Knesset´s Pollard caucus, MK Uri Ariel (National
Union), praised Peres for sending the letter and expressed hope that
Obama would accept Peres´s request "before it is too late."
The White House said Monday that its stance on Pollard had not
changed and that Obama did not intend to release him. Sources close
to Pollard said the White House statement was released before Obama
had received the letter and they were still hopeful the US president
would have a change of heart due to Peres´s letter. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 04/10/12)
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