|Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy (reuters)|
United States announced that it will release in November. He was serving a life sentence. What is behind this decision? Washington. Lawyers for Jonathan Pollard, sentenced to life imprisonment for spying for Israel, said the United States has been granted parole and be released from prison in November. Pollard has spent 30 years in prison.
Pollard, an American Jew who obtained Israeli citizenship when he was in prison, was arrested in 1985 for espionage and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987, accused of giving secret documents to Israeli intelligence service while working as a civilian analyst for the US Navy.
Since then, the case has aroused passions and divided opinions. His supporters argued that the punishment was excessive because spying for an ally of the United States. His opponents -including prosecutors and officials of Government consider him a traitor who caused damage to the nation by disclosing confidential documents.
His release could be considered a concession to Israel, which is strongly opposed to nuclear deal with Iran, which the federal authorities reject outright. And Israeli officials said that while greeted the release of Pollard, does not diminish its opposition to the agreement with Iran. Pollard, 60, has had some health problems and is in a prison in North Carolina. The Federal Bureau of Prisons on its website mentions as expected date of his release on 21 November.
"We are grateful and delighted that our client be released soon," said a statement from his lawyers Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman.
Pollard was entitled to apply for parole in November under the provisions of his sentence. Defense lawyers said that the decision to grant parole, which happened at a hearing this month, "is not related to the recent events in the Middle East", in apparent reference to the nuclear deal with Iran.
The United States had opposed his release, even during talks between Israel and the Palestinians last year. Secretary of State John Kerry, who testified about the deal on Tuesday, told reporters that freedom of Pollard had "nothing to do" with the nuclear deal.
Defense lawyers said that being denied parole at this time, Pollard would have had to spend another 15 years in prison. But the Justice Department said earlier this month it would not oppose the request of the detainee. Lawyers said Pollard "hopes to meet his beloved wife Esther."