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Jewish Parliamentarians Urge Clemency for Pollard

NEW YORK – The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) is urging US President Barack Obama to commute the sentence of long-imprisoned spy Jonathan Pollard.

“We, the members of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, write to urge you to use your power of clemency to commute Jonathan Pollard’s prison sentence to time served,” the ICJP’s steering committee wrote in a Dec. 19 letter to the American president. “Mr. Pollard committed a serious crime for which he deserved punishment. But, after serving more than 25 years in prison, it is our opinion that it is time for him to be released. He has paid a steep price, to be sure.”

The letter was signed by the chairman of the ICJP, US Rep. Eliot Engel, and seven other members of parliaments from around the world: MP Viviane Teitelbaum of Belgium, MP Luis Fishman Zonzinski of Costa Rica, MP Meyer Habib of France, MPs Pal Steiner and Tibor Szanyi of Hungary, Member of Knesset Nachman Shai of Israel and MP Oleksandr Feldman of Ukraine.

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Mr. President:

We, the members of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, write to urge you to use your power of clemency to commute Jonathan Pollard’s prison sentence to time served. Mr. Pollard committed a serious crime for which he deserved punishment. But, after serving more than 25 years in prison, it is our opinion that it is time for him to be released. He has paid a steep price, to be sure. As has been brought to your attention in the past, Mr. Pollard has served a disproportionate sentence compared to perpetrators of similar crimes. While we would not expect preferential treatment for him over those guilty of commensurate infractions, he should be treated comparably.

Mr. President, Jonathan Pollard’s release is overdue and justified on humanitarian grounds given his current poor state of health, and on fairness grounds given the outcomes of similar cases within the United States justice system. We urge you to do what is right and grant clemency to Mr. Pollard so that he can be released for time served.

Sincerely,

Eliot L. Engel, Congressman, United States Oleksandr Feldman, MP, Ukraine

Luis Fishman Zonzinski, MP, Costa Rica Meyer Habib, MP, France

Nachman Shai, MK, Israel Pal Steiner, MP, Hungary

Tibor Szanyi, MP, Hungary Viviane Teitelbaum, MP, Belgium



About the ICJP

The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, an initiative of the World Jewish Congress, was founded as an independent, informal association of Jewish parliamentarians and elected officials from around the world who meet periodically to promote democracy and human rights and combat racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. It serves as a platform to support Israel, support an enduring Middle East and security of Jewish communities around the world and explore best practices.
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