AAJLJ: Pollard Parole Conditions Violate Religious Rights

NEW YORK -

The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (AAJLJ) has sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch expressing concern about the conditions of Jonathan Pollard’s parole and urging the Department of Justice to allow Pollard to move to Israel.

In the three-page letter, the AAJLJ said that the parole conditions, which include wearing an electronic monitoring device seven days a week and a 7 pm to 7 am curfew, “appear to be excessive and counter-productive,” and that the organization – which represents Jewish attorneys and judges from throughout the United States, is concerned that they impermissibly interfere with Mr. Pollard’s ability to practice his religion, in violation of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

“The letter that the AAJLJ sent to the Attorney General is a continuation of the organization’s historic support for Mr. Pollard’s legal efforts,” Ms. Alyza Lewin, the organization’s president, told Hamodia. “The AAJLJ has filed amicus briefs in support of Mr. Pollard in the past. As described in the letter, the AAJLJ is troubled by the extreme parole restrictions which inhibit Mr. Pollard’s ability to retain a job, threaten his physical health and require him to violate his religious principles.

“I am not aware of any comparable situations,” she added.

The letter notes that “the current curfew hours will interfere with Mr. Pollard’s ability to adhere to tenets of the Jewish faith, including participating in religious services that meet during the curfew hours. In addition, we understand that the GPS monitoring transmitter that Mr. Pollard must wear 24 hours a day holds its charge for only 12 to 20 hours. Mr. Pollard is, therefore, required to recharge the device on the Sabbath in violation of his religious convictions. This burden on Mr. Pollard’s sincere exercise of his religion is a violation of RFRA.”