Tuesday, November 22, 2011

VP Biden met with American Jewish leaders to discuss Pollard clemency

(Jpost, Ynet).Officials in US Vice President Joe Biden's office confirmed late Monday that, in accordance with his promise, Biden had met with met American Jewish leaders. He was expected to discuss a request that US President Barack Obama commute the life sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard on the 26th anniversary of his arrest, but this could not be confirmed by his office.

Biden, who is believed to be vehemently opposed to releasing Pollard, mainly listened as the Jewish leaders told him that both Republican and Democratic leaders are in favor of pardoning the convicted spy due to his ailing health, among other reasons.

The leaders added that Pollard is the only person in the history of the US to serve 26 years in jail for spying for a friendly nation and presented data according to which the average sentence for similar crimes of espionage is only two to four years.

The leaders also mentioned several cases in which people who were convicted for spying on behalf of enemy states or entities received much lighter sentences. For example, they said, a man who spied for al-Qaeda and disclosed information which could have led to the death of American soldiers was sentenced to only 10 years in prison.

One of the Jewish leaders described the meeting as "important," but refused to give any further details.