B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:B’nai B’rith has joined members of Congress in calling for clemency for Jonathan Pollard, who as a civilian defense officer passed classified information to Israel more than 25 years ago. He’s been serving a life sentence since 1985.
A clemency appeal to President Obama signed by 39 members of Congress notes a severe sentencing disparity for Pollard. B’nai B’rith International and the lawmakers are questioning the length of the sentence, not disputing Pollard’s guilt. At a time when the average sentence for passing classified information to an ally was 2-4 years, Pollard received a life sentence.
At a Capitol Hill news conference on Nov. 18, B’nai B’rith International Legislative Affairs Director Eric Fusfield joined Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Steven Rothman (D-N.J.) in calling for Pollard’s release.
Fusfield said: “This cause is about one simple but crucial principle: Equal justice under the law. Jonathan Pollard has already served 25 years of a life sentence for one count of passing classified information to an ally, a crime that, for other offenders, carries an average sentence of much less than 10 years; in fact, today the maximum sentence for this crime is 10 years. In Pollard’s case, the sentence clearly is vastly disproportionate to the crime and should be commuted to time already served.
“Today, B’nai B’rith joins nearly 40 members of Congress in their appeal to President Obama. Mr. Pollard has expressed remorse for his crime many times, in both his written and spoken words. Furthermore, he has been a model prisoner for 25 years. Enough is enough: He has served far too long for his crime, and the time for clemency is now.”