Sharon to Ask Bush to Pardon Pollard

Janine Zacharia - Jerusalem Post - March 12, 2001

WASHINGTON - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday he would ask US President George W. Bush to consider clemency for Jonathan Pollard, the American spy for Israel who recently finished the 15th year of a life sentence.

"I think that it will be very, very important if Jonathan Pollard will be freed after so many years in prison," Sharon told CNN's Sunday morning news show.

Asked if that meant he would ask Bush to pardon Pollard when the two meet at the White House next week, Sharon responded: "I'll do that."

Pollard activists, who have repeatedly failed to win a pardon despite appeals by former Israeli prime ministers, were irate over president Bill Clinton's last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, who fled justice and never paid for his crimes, including tax evasion and trading illegally with Iran.

Sharon declined to comment on that pardon, which Clinton has said was awarded largely after prodding by former prime minister Ehud Barak.

Clinton declined appeals for clemency for Pollard four times. In 1998, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked him to do so as part of the Wye River Accord, but Clinton refused after CIA chief George Tenet threatened to resign if Pollard was released. [J4JP Note: Clinton's subsequent pardon of 14 unrepentant FALN terrorists in spite of a solid wall of opposition from all of his Justice, Intelligence and Defense advisors, has long since put the lie to this excuse, as did Clinton's Jan. 20/01 pardon of Marc Rich.]

Pollard passed classified documents to Israel, including satellite photographs of Arab weapons systems and Iraqi nuclear test sites, compromising key US intelligence services in the process. [J4JP: This is not true! See Jlem Post Falsely Accuses Jonathan Pollard.]

In June 1986, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage as part of a plea bargain. [J4JP Note: No charges were dropped as a result of the plea bargain.] The following year he was sentenced to life in prison, a move Pollard's lawyers say violated the deal.

See Also:
  • The Court Case 2000/2001 Page
  • The Clemency Page
  • The Facts Page
  • Jerusalem Post Falsely Accuses Jonathan Pollard