No Apology from Feds to Pollard for Brutal Treatment

J4JP Release - November 22, 2003

A Letter to the Jewish Press Editorial Board by Esther Pollard
Re: Editorial: The Jonathan Pollard Decision (JP, 11/21/03)

On the 18th anniversary of Jonathan's incarceration, we were deeply disappointed to read such a grievously flawed editorial in The Jewish Press, "The Jonathan Pollard Decision" (JP, 11/21/03).

Jonathan and I wish to set the record straight:

  1. The editorial states: "...the federal Bureau of Prisons has apologized [for the mistreatment which Jonathan endured in Washington for 2 weeks] which it attributes to intervention from intelligence agencies."
  2. This is untrue! There has been no apology from the federal Bureau of Prisons, from the Justice Department or from any other federal agency for the brutal treatment inflicted on Jonathan.

    No attempt has been made by any federal body to investigate, explain or apologize for the extreme isolation, sensory deprivation and physical abuse that Jonathan was forced to endure - treatment designed to humiliate, degrade and break him before his appearance in court. [See: A Portrait of American Justice.]

    For the Jewish Press to suggest that there has been an apology or even an acknowledgment of the way that Jonathan was brutalized, is tantamount to dismissing the seriousness of this abuse, and tantamount to acting as apologist for this government's mistreatment of a Jew.

    It is troubling that Jewish Press did not extend to Jonathan the courtesy of verifying the facts first-hand with the J4JP office or with Jonathan's attorneys.

  3. We are appalled that the Jewish Press editorial accepts the judge's dismissal of Jonathan's legal cases as a foregone conclusion ("not surprising"), and then states that "[apparently] the Pollard legal team [did not come up with] substantial, new legal arguments or evidence."
  4. Nothing could be further from the truth! By claiming so, the Jewish Press effectively dismisses Jonathan's compelling, meticulously-prepared legal briefs, and his attorneys' brilliantly-executed oral arguments.

    In point of fact, there is a wealth of substance to Jonathan's two new legal cases. But Judge Hogan did not reach the merits of the cases at all! Ignoring the substance of these cases, the judge threw out the cases on procedural technicality alone!

  5. The Jewish Press compounds misinformation in its editorial by stating that Jonathan's basic legal position is that "the government reneged on a plea bargain."
  6. Not true at all! First of all, Jonathan has two distinct and separate cases. The core of one case addresses an unjust sentence handed down in violation of Jonathan's constitutional rights, as a direct result of the ineffective assistance of Jonathan's own counsel. At the heart of the second case, is the right of Jonathan's security-cleared attorneys to access the secret portions of Jonathan's court docket, so that they may prepare and present an informed petition for executive clemency.

    Again, had the Jewish Press granted Jonathan's attorneys the courtesy of a phone call, all of the above could have been clearly explained. But no such courtesy was extended; nor, it appears, did the Jewish Press avail itself of the most basic legal information available on the J4JP website, or in its media releases regularly sent to the Jewish Press.

  7. We are dumbfounded that the Jewish Press proposes that in lieu of Jonathan seeking executive clemency, the Justice Department should voluntarily allow Jonathan Pollard's cases to proceed, even now that the judge has dismissed them!
  8. The Judge's decision, rejecting Jonathan's motions on legal technicality only, upheld the Justice Department's license to keep the Pollard case hidden under a veil of secrecy and to keep Jonathan buried alive in prison for the rest of his life (G-d forbid!).

    To suggest that the Justice Department would voluntarily forfeit its right to continue its 18-year old policy of persecuting Jonathan Pollard without legal restraint or limit, is not only naive, it is patently absurd!

  9. Finally, we are appalled that the Jewish Press presumes to dismiss Jonathan's legitimate right to pursue executive clemency by disparaging his chances of ever attaining it.
  10. Neither Judge Hogan nor the Jewish Press has any right to presume to know how the President will respond to an effective, well- informed petition for executive clemency. It is ONLY by gaining access to the secret portion of the court record that Jonathan's security cleared attorneys can present an air-tight case for clemency.

    By presuming to dismiss Jonathan's chances of presidential clemency out of hand, Judge Hogan barred attorneys Lauer and Semmelman access to the secret portions of Jonathan's own sentencing docket and this effectively prevents Jonathan from making his case to the President for clemency.

    By endorsing the judge's non-logical reasoning, the Jewish Press pounds another nail into the coffin in which Jonathan's constitutional rights have been buried for 18 years.

    Jonathan's attorneys have already filed a notice of appeal of Judge Hogan's incomprehensible decision in the secret documents case.

We would like to conclude by pointing out that today, November 22, 2003, Jonathan begins his 19th year of a life sentence in prison. He has now served many times longer in prison than anyone in the history of the United States convicted of a similar offense. Anyone still laboring under the illusion that this case is only about Jonathan Pollard and about the offense he committed, is deluding him/herself and delaying the resolution of this case.

When Ha'Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, shlita, blessed Jonathan's attorneys, in Washington on September 2/03, moments before they were to present their oral arguments to the court, he said: "I want you to know that you are doing this for Am Yisrael. Not for Jonathan Pollard, but for Am Yisrael." Seeing the look of surprise on their faces, the Rav added, "Yes, of course, for Jonathan too; but what is truly at stake today is Am Yisrael."

With that thought in mind, it behooves the Jewish Press to acknowledge that, in not diligently researching the facts in order to present the truth to its readers, a great disservice was done to both Jonathan Pollard and to Am Yisrael. Surely an apology and editorial correction are in order. We ask the Jewish Press to make amends by publishing our letter and inviting readers to visit the Justice4JP website at to learn the facts.

Esther Pollard
(Mrs. Jonathan Pollard)

  • Click here to see Editorial:

    The Pollard Decision - Jewish Press [NY] - November 21, 2003
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