Euro-Parliament Adopts British MEP's Motion Urging Pollard Release
The Diplomatic Editor - Jewish Chronicle, London - October 1, 1993
A call by a British MEP for the release of an American who was jailed for spying for Israel has been adopted by the European Parliament.
The motion, presented by Derek Prag, the Conservative MEP for Hertfordshire, was passed by a large majority at the parliament's last meeting in Strasbourg.
It will add to the growing pressure on the US authorities to commute the life sentence on Jonathan Pollard, who has been in jail since March 1987.
The EC resolution calls on the Americans to commute his life sentence and release him immediately.
In addition, it requests EC foreign ministers to intercede with Washington over the case of the former US Navy intelligence analyst, who was convicted of passing military secrets to Israel on the build-up of nuclear and chemical weapons in the Arab world.
The resolution will be forwarded to the European Commission, all EC foreign ministers and to the American government.
Addressing the parliament, Mr. Prag said that Pollard - who has spent most of his sentence in solitary confinement - was jailed for life even though he had co-operated with the authorities and despite an undertaking by the American government that it would not seek to impose such a penalty.
His life sentence, the heaviest that could be imposed following a personal request from Caspar Weinberger [the then defense secretary]," the MEP declared.
"Mr. Pollard was kept in unrelenting solitary confinement for six years
"Mr. Weinberger himself no longer objects to his release. Mr. Pollard did what he did because he believed that Israel, a key ally of the United States, was under deadly nuclear and chemical threat.
"He has expressed remorse for breaking the law."
A copy of the text of the resolution follows.
The European Parliament
- noting that Jonathan Pollard, then of the US Navy, was convicted in 1985 of having passed classified information to Israel concerning the military activities of Iraq, Syria and other Middle Eastern nations,
noting also that he information dealt with the chemical, biological and nuclear arms build-up in these countries and that Pollard considered he had a moral duty to warn Israel of the developing massive threat to its security and to the lives of its people,
whereas Pollard has expressed remorse for his action,
- whereas Pollard, who was not accused of treason, or of intending to harm the US, pleaded guilty under a plea bargain, and was thus convicted and sentenced, without a full trial, to life imprisonment, despite the Government's promise not to ask such a penalty.
- Noting that the sentence imposed on Pollard was grossly disproportionate to those imposed on others by US courts for supplying information to a friendly power (normally from two to four years),
- Shocked that most of Pollard's eight years in prison should have been spent in solitary confinement, and underground,
- Astonished that Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger, described by one of his Under-Secretaries for Defence as having had 'an almost visdceral dislike of Israel', should have sent a message to the trial judge, one hour before the sentencing hearing, asking for the stiffest possible sentence commensurate with Pollard's 'treasonous' (sis) behaviour,
- Noting however that Mr. Weinberger stated recently that he thought it was time that Mr. Pollard should be released; aware that Christian and Jewish organizations throughout the world have pleaded for the harsh sentence of life imprisonment to be commuted and that Judge Steve Williams wrote, in a dissenting opinion to an appellate court finding, that 'the government's conduct in this case resulted in a complete miscarriage of justice',
- Urges the US Administration to commute Pollard's sentence to one of time served and to release him immediately,
- Calls on EPC to intercede with the US government with this and in view:
- Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, EPC and the Government of the United States.
See Also: The European Parliament Resolution on Jonathan Pollard