Last Friday, representatives for Jonathan Pollard, who is scheduled to be released from prison on Friday, November 20, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking for “fair consideration” regarding Pollard’s wish to live in Israel with his family. “Pollard,” writes Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), “understands that, as a condition of being permitted to move to Israel, he may need to renounce his American citizenship. Despite the serious consequences that may follow such a decision, including being permanently barred from returning to the United States, he is willing to undertake this extraordinary measure.”
Pollard, 61, has been imprisoned for 30 years after having become the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying on an American ally, reported the New York Times. He is currently serving time in a medium-security prison in North Carolina. He becomes eligible for mandatory parole on Friday, having been denied parole last year.
Here’s is the content of the letter Pollard’s representatives sent to Lynch, via Yeshiva World News:
November 13, 2015
The Honorable Loretta E. Lynch
Attorney General United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Lynch:
We appreciate the decision by the Department of Justice (DOJ) not to object to Jonathan Pollard’s release from prison when he becomes eligible for mandatory parole. Upon his release, on November 20, 2015, after serving 30 years in prison, it is Mr. Pollard’s wish to move to Israel with his family so he can resume his life there. We write today to ask that DOJ give Mr. Pollard’s request the fair consideration it deserves.
Mr. Pollard understands that, as a condition of being permitted to move to Israel, he may need to renounce his American citizenship. Despite the serious consequences that may follow such a decision, including being permanently barred from returning to the United States, he is willing to undertake this extraordinary measure.
As you may know, there is recent precedent for Mr. Pollard’s request. In May of 2013, DOJ allowed René González, a member of the so-called “Cuban 5,” to renounce his citizenship and live in Cuba. Mr. González served more than 8 years in prison for a 2001 espionage conviction for taking part in a spying ring on behalf of the Cuban government. While on probation, DOJ allowed Mr. González to attend his father’s funeral in Cuba. Despite DOJ’s prior insistence that he serve his entire probation in the United States, DOJ allowed Mr. González to renounce his American citizenship and remain in Cuba, on condition that he never return to the U.S. Similarly, Mr. Pollard asks that he be permitted to leave the United States and join his family in Israel. Mr. Pollard understands that this would likely mean that he would never be able to return.
We believe that America’s interests and the interests of justice would be served if DOJ were to grant Jonathan Pollard’s request to reunite with his wife and move to Israel upon his release. In its discussions of Mr. Pollard mandatory parole, DOJ has already acknowledged that there is no reasonable probability that he will commit any future crimes after his release. If DOJ allows him to leave the United States permanently, this would become a near-certainty. We respectfully ask that you give this request fair consideration.
Jerrold Nadler – Members of Congress
Eliot Engel – Members of Congress
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Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.