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US will not let convicted spy Pollard go to Israel

An Israeli right-wing demonstrator holds a picture of Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish American who was jailed in 1987 on charges of spying on the United States, during a protest in Jerusalem in 2008
Joe Klamar (AFP/File)
Top official says Pollard will have to stay in America when freed from jail later this month after 30 years

Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard will remain in the United States following his release on November 21, United States President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communication Ben Rhodes told Israeli reporters in a briefing Thursday night.

"President Obama has not intervened in the judicial process here in the United States, and that's been his consistent approach," Rhodes said, according to The Jerusalem Post. "With respect to the case of Jonathan Pollard, he’s made clear that he wants there to be fair treatment under the law, as there should be with any individual. But he as President has not intervened in that process. He respects how important this issue is to many Israelis. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Prime Minister raised this. That's obviously his determination. But again, that's been the approach that the President has taken."

Pollard, who is currently serving a life sentence and has already spent 30 years behind bars, was convicted of giving Israel thousands of classified documents, the extent of which has never been fully revealed.

Under the terms of his release Pollard must remain in the US for the next five years unless he receives permission from the president. Pollard is said to want to move to Israel, but will reside in the New York area if the request is not granted, The Post reported.

He is suffering from multiple recurring health problems and has been hospitalized several times recently without word getting out to the media, according to The Post.

Pollard and the Israeli government have both apologized and expressed remorse for their actions, but successive US administrations have rejected Israeli requests to free him.


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