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Saperstein: “Mr. Pollard’s sentence is grossly disproportionate to sentences that others have received for comparable espionage offenses.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 30, 2008 – The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism today released a letter from Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, to President George W. Bush, requesting that before he leaves office in January, President Bush commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard, who was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to one count of delivering classified information to a foreign government, Israel. The full text of the letter follows:
November 6, 2008
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, I write to urge you to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard. As we noted in a 1993 Union for Reform Judaism resolution, we neither condone breaking the law, nor do we make this request out of a belief that that Jonathan Pollard is innocent of the crime for which he was charged. However, Mr. Pollard’s sentence is grossly disproportionate to sentences that others have received for comparable espionage offenses. Only those who spied for enemy nations have received life sentences. No other individual convicted of disclosing information to an ally has received such a sentence.
For more than 20 years, Mr. Pollard has remained in prison, including significant time spent in solitary confinement. In the interest of justice, it is now time to commute Mr. Pollard’s sentence to time served.
Rabbi David Saperstein