The thirty-five year saga of Jonathan Pollard took another perplexing twist this week after it was revealed that U.S. authorities are refusing to say whether they will finally allow his onerous parole restrictions to expire. Next Friday, November 20th, will mark five years since he was released from prison after serving thirty years of an unprecedented life sentence.
In court papers filed after his release, the government indicated that according to standard procedure, these restrictions would end after five years. Yet as this milestone is about to arrive, the authorities are refusing to reply to inquiries by Mr. Pollard’s attorney whether the government will take the unusual step of seeking to extend the parole restrictions.
“Under normal circumstances – that is, with any other prisoner, including spies for enemy nations etc. – the five-year marker would have significance,” a source close to the Pollards said. “Provided that there was five years of good conduct, it would be honored immediately. But not for Israel’s agent. Nothing in this case has ever been handled according to normative legal practice.”
“Keeping the Pollard in the dark this way right up to the very end is unprecedented,” the source continued. “It is common practice to give the prisoner a few weeks or even a few months notice to allow him to plan for his future. Especially in this case, where Pollard has to assure on-going medical care for his very ill wife, this total black out is not only unprecedented but also cruel and vindictive.”
Pollard issued a public plea last year for all these who possibly can to intervene on his behalf with President Trump to lift the parole conditions which prevent him from taking care of his wife, Esther, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
“It is a matter of life and death,” he said in a conversation with Hamodia at the time. “The cancer has spread to her bones,” Pollard revealed. “This is the greatest danger to life, and makes it critical for her to undergo intensive and aggressive chemotherapy treatment followed by surgery as soon as possible. She is likely to be incapacitated for long periods of time. I need to be able to take care of her. But in order for me to do so, I must be mobile.
“Right now, even during the day I can’t accompany her to doctor appointments or treatments – or even the hospital – without special permission each time, which may or may not be given for any reason. Because of the curfew, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. I am chained to the apartment, unable to leave even if my wife is having a medical emergency. These parole conditions have to be lifted so that I can take care of her. She has no one else who can do so.”