Minister Kahlon's meeting with Pollard questionable

Moshe Kahlon's visit would mark first time in years that Israeli minister visits imprisoned spy, but visit may be called off due to Pollard's poor health. Meanwhile, Kissinger, former US VP joins efforts to free Pollard

Attila Somfalvi - YNET - March 9, 2011

Rare visit for spy Jonathan Pollard.

Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon was set to visit Jonathan Pollard in his prison cell next week, in what would be the first time in years that an Israeli minister has visited the convicted spy, who has been imprisoned in the US since 1985. However, sources close to Pollard's family expressed their concern that the visit may be called off due to the convicted spy's poor health.

Pollard has been hospitalized a number of times lately and even underwent surgery.

Ever since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a personal letter to US President Barack Obama requesting that Pollard be pardoned, former government officials expressed the need to pardon him. And yet, Pollard has yet to receive the longed for pardon - after 25 years in prison.

Kahlon, who will be holding meetings in the US, asked to visit Pollard and received permission to do so. Israeli ministers have visited Pollard in the past, but not in recent years.

On Monday former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger became the latest in a long line of former senior US officials to ask Obama to release Pollard.

In a letter to the US leader, Kissinger said "I believe justice would be served by commuting the remainder of Pollard's sentence of life imprisonment."

Dan Quayle, who was US vice president from 1989 to 1993, under the presidency of George Bush Sr., also joined efforts to pardon Pollard. In a letter, Quayle appealed to President Obama and asked him to cut Pollard's sentence short. "I believe that a life sentence for the crime committed is very extreme," Quayle wrote in his letter.

Quayle sent the letter to the US president last week and waited until he received confirmation that it reached the president before allowing its content to be published. "I hope you will once again look very carefully at this pending request", wrote the former vice president, who is the highest-ranking former official to call for the release of Pollard.

Former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former Secretary of State George Shultz also sought to reduce the spy's sentence.

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