U.S. set to release Jonathan Pollard, who spied for Israel

In this Friday, May 15, 1998 file photo, Jonathan Pollard speaks during an interview in a conference room. (File photo: AP)

Former spy Jonathan Pollard is set to be released from a federal prison in North Carolina on Friday, 30 years after he was caught selling American intelligence secrets to Israel. But he’ll be on a short leash as he rebuilds his life as a free man.

Pollard, 61, was given a life sentence in 1987 in a case that has complicated diplomacy between the two countries.

He’s expected to settle in the New York area while he spends at least the next five years on parole. He will be barred from traveling outside the country, including to Israel, without permission. Many in Israel view him as a hero.

Both the Justice Department and Pollard’s lawyers have so far declined to discuss his parole conditions, but one longtime supporter, Rabbi Pesach Lerner of New York, told a radio interviewer this month that Pollard would have to abide by a curfew and wear a GPS unit to track his movements.

He has also been ordered to stay off the Internet, Lerner said, which could complicate his ability to hold a job. Standard rules for federal parolees would also restrict Pollard’s travel within the U.S.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has asked the U.S. to allow Pollard to move immediately to Israel, the pro-government Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom reported on Thursday.

Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy, was arrested in 1985. He pleaded guilty a year later. Over the decades, the possibility of his early release had been dangled as a bargaining chip in the Middle East peace process.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47