Pollard's Lawyer: Israel Delaying Release

February 28, 1998 - Jack Katzenell - Associated Press, Washington

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A lawyer for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard accused the Israeli government Saturday of dragging its feet in seeking the release of the man from a U.S. prison.

The comments were made after the government submitted a statement to Israel's Supreme Court on Friday describing its efforts to set up a committee to have Pollard, an American, sent to Israel.

Pollard's lawyer, Baruch Ben-Yosef, dismissed the government's statement as "another attempt to gain time, instead of taking the steps necessary to obtain my client's freedom."

The former U.S. naval analyst was arrested in 1985 for passing military secrets to Israel. He is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Butner, N.C.

Pollard's lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to order the government to acknowledge that he was an Israeli spy and to make the concessions used to win the release of other captured spies.

Ben-Yosef told The Associated Press he would ask the court on Monday to reject the state's request for more time and make a ruling without further delay.

After Pollard's arrest, Israeli leaders said that he acted without official Israeli sanction. The Israeli Embassy in Washington closed its gates to Pollard as he tried to escape from federal agents who had come to arrest him.

At a Cabinet meeting in December, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would "act on behalf of Pollard." Netanyahu said he would continue to encourage Cabinet ministers to visit him in jail.

Two ministers, Yuli Edelstein and Limor Livnat, have visited Pollard.

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