If Pollard Dies in Jail, Sharon to Blame

Nina Gilbert - Jerusalem Post - May 9, 2001

Esther Pollard said yesterday she fears her husband, Jonathan Pollard, may die soon if not released from the US prison where he is serving a life sentence for spying on behalf of Israel. If he does, she added, she will hold Prime Minister Ariel Sharon responsible.

In a meeting with MK Ophir Pines-Paz (One Israel), chairman of the Knesset Law Committee, Esther Pollard said the government would "prefer for Pollard to die in jail, since it would solve a problem for them if he would be sent back here in a coffin." She complained that Sharon met with her for only 15 minutes about her husband before Pessah, and since then has refused to see her or her lawyers. Esther Pollard also bitterly criticized former prime minister Ehud Barak when he was in office for failing to secure her husband's release.

Pollard was convicted in 1985 of spying for Israel while he was an analyst with the US Navy.

Pines-Paz said he is considering organizing a Knesset delegation to travel to the US to lobby for Pollard's release. He also intends to bring the Pollard issue before his committee to discuss contacts with the members' counterparts in the Congress who could recommend Pollard's release.

While Pines-Paz was in Washington for a conference last week, he traveled to visit Pollard in his North Carolina prison. He was accompanied by MK Michael Eitan (Likud). They updated Esther Pollard about their visit.

Pines-Paz said that Pollard's physical and mental condition have "deteriorated considerably" since he last saw him three years ago.

He said he has stopped taking his medications, and seems to have given up hope.

He said he intends discuss the matter with Sharon. Pollard told Pines-Paz that he is very disappointed with the prime minister.

In May 1998, Israel acknowledged that Pollard was an Israeli agent, and he has also been granted Israeli citizenship.

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