Weiner, Colleagues Urge Clemency For Jonathan Pollard

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Today, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D – Queens and Brooklyn) and 39 of his colleagues announced they are sending a letter to President Obama urging him to pardon Jonathan Pollard, who received a disproportionately severe sentence when he was convicted of spying for Israel, one of the United States’ closest allies.

“We write to urge you to use your constitutional power to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard, thereby releasing him from prison after the time he has already served,” the letter reads.  “We believe that there has been a great disparity from the standpoint of justice between the amount of time Mr. Pollard has served and the time that has been served – or not served at all – by many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations that, like Israel, are not adversarial to us.”

In 1985, Pollard was charged with passing classified information to the Israeli government. He cooperated with investigators, admitted his wrongdoing, and was sentenced to life in prison. No one who has ever pleaded guilty to a similar crime – one count of spying for an ally – has ever been sentenced to a life term. He has now served more than 25 years in federal prison.

Weiner has been a longtime advocate for awarding Pollard clemency.  In 2005, he urged Attorney General Gonzalez to release crucial information in the Jonathan Pollard case to Pollard’s attorneys.

During the sentencing phase of Pollard’s trial, the government submitted a memo to the court which was later referenced by the judge as justification for his stiff sentence. Despite the fact that they the necessary security clearance, the government has never allowed Pollard’s lawyers to review the memo. This has severely hamstrung Pollard’s attorneys’ efforts to win him clemency.

The letter concludes with Weiner and his colleagues writing that “we see clemency for Mr. Pollard as an act of compassion justified by the way others have been treated by our justice system; as an act that will do nothing whatsoever to lessen our defenses against espionage; and a step that far from hurting the national security, could advance it by the impact it would have within Israel. We urge you to use the clemency power in this case.”
 
See the Full Letter:
 
November 18, 2010
 
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
 
Dear Mr. President,
 
We write to urge you to use your constitutional power to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard, thereby releasing him from prison after the time he has already served. Mr. Pollard committed serious crimes and he has expressed remorse.  Such an exercise of the clemency power would not in any way imply doubt about his guilt, nor cast any aspersions on the process by which he was convicted.  Those who have such views are of course entitled to continue to have them, but the clemency grant has nothing to do with that.
 
We believe that there has been a great disparity from the standpoint of justice between the amount of time Mr. Pollard has served and the time that has been served – or not served at all – by many others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of nations that, like Israel, are not adversarial to us.  It is indisputable in our view that the nearly twenty-five years that Mr. Pollard has served stands as a sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence.
 
In summary, we see clemency for Mr. Pollard as an act of compassion justified by the way others have been treated by our justice system.  We urge you to use the clemency power in this case.
 
Sincerely,
           
 
Barney Frank                                                   Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Edolphus Towns                                              Anthony Weiner
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress

Henry A.  Waxman                                          Gary L. Ackerman
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Gregory W. Meeks                                           Maurice D. Hinchey
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Michael E. McMahon                                       Janice D. Schakowsky
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
John W. Olver                                                 Eliot L. Engel
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Theodore E. Deutsch                                       Robert A. Brady.
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
 Donald M. Payne                                            Shelley Berkley
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Jerrold Nadler                                                  Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
 Steven R. Rothman                                         Ron Klein
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Raúl M. Grijalva                                              Steve Kagen
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
 Carolyn McCarthy                                          Chaka Fattah
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
John Lewis                                                      Frank Pallone, Jr.
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Charles B. Rangel                                            Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Laura Richardson                                            James A. Himes
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Brad Sherman                                                  Patrick J. Kennedy
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Bennie G. Thompson                                       John J. Hall
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Sheila Jackson Lee                                          Eleanor Holmes Norton
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Robert E. Andrews                                          Niki Tsongas
Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress
 
Danny Davis
Member of Congress

(YWN Desk – NYC)




4 COMMENTS

  1. In news stories this morning it is reported that when signers approached Republicans for support they were rebuffed by “…even by the most sympathetic GOP lawmakers for fear of political blowback from the Republican base.”