Sunday, April 17, 2011

NY Republican Congressman sends letter to Obama: Release Pollard ahead of Passover

New York Congressman Michael Grimm, who has visited imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in jail, sent a letter to US President Barack Obama on Sunday asking him to free Pollard ahead of Passover.

Congressman Grimm, who represents New York’s 13th Congressional District,  which is comprised of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, previously served  as an agent for the FBI for nine years. In addition, Grimm is a former U.S.  Marine who served in the Gulf War and was awarded a Combat Meritorious  Promotion. Congressman Grimm currently serves on the House Committee on  Financial Services, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, and the  Subcommittee on Capital Markets.

The full text of Rep Grimm's Passover letter to President Obama follows below:
Dear Mr. President:

I write to you as a newly elected member of the House of Representatives and I wish to add my voice in support of clemency for Jonathan Pollard. As Americans we are united in the fundamental belief that “Justice, only justice, shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20), which rests at the core of our moral principles and system of justice.

Mr. Pollard is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage – passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States. I certainly do not condone his crime, nor do I underestimate the gravity of the offense. But it is patently clear that the sentence was, and remains, terribly disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted)
constitutes a gross miscarriage of justice.

I recently returned from visiting Mr. Pollard in prison and after more than two and a half decades in prison, his health is declining. He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has served as a model inmate. If Mr. Pollard were to be granted clemency he would be united with his wife, Esther, in Israel where he has vowed to live the remainder of his life in peace.

Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency, as well as a matter of basic fairness and  merican justice. It would also represent a clear act of compassion and reconciliation - a sign of hope much needed in today’s world of tension and turmoil.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


Michael Grimm

Member of Congress

13th District of New York