Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein visited Jonathan Pollard in the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina in recent days.
“We returned with a renewed commitment to work for Mr. Pollard’s release from incarceration in accordance with long-standing Conference policy. We see this as a serious humanitarian issue as well as a legal matter," they said in a statement following the visit.
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"He has served 27 years, seven of them in solitary confinement. Mr. Pollard has expressed remorse, which he persuasively reiterated in our two-hour discussion. He suffers from multiple serious medical challenges, which we believe add urgency to the timeliness of his release.”
Stone and Hoenlein noted the many outstanding American leaders who have publicly called for Mr. Pollard’s release, including a number of key officials who were involved in his case, such as former US Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence J. Korb.
“Mr. Pollard was not charged with harming America and has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions. Furthermore, the average sentence for his offense is two to four years … Justice would best be served by commuting Pollard’s sentence to the time he has already spent in prison,” Mr. Korb said in a statement.
'Sentence should be commuted'
Other public figures who have issued statements on Pollard’s behalf include former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, former US Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former US Secretary of State George P. Schultz, former US Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, Senator Alan K. Simpson, co-chair of the President’s Economic Commission, and former White House Counsel Bernard W. Nussbaum.
The Conference leaders added, “While we have written to the President and his predecessors, had meetings with them and other administration officials, including most recently Vice President Biden, and we have spoken out on Mr. Pollard’s behalf continuously, seeing him in person and dialoguing with him added significantly to our conviction that Pollard’s sentence should be quickly commuted.
"Mr. Pollard made clear that he does not seek a pardon, recognizing that he committed a crime, but seeks a commutation of his sentence. Mr. Pollard wants only to be able to build a family and to be a contributing citizen. He has said repeatedly and convincingly that he will not engage in political activity. We believe it is overdue that he be allowed to join his wife, who was present at our visit, so that they can live out their lives together. We once again call on the Conference’s member organizations, religious leaders and individuals as well as all concerned people to work to secure his release,” said Stone and Hoenlein.
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