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US releases Israeli spy after 30 years in prison

Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel, leaves a New York court house on 20 November 2015 [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel on 20 November 2015 [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

The US authorities are expected to release Jonathan Pollard today, almost 30 years after his conviction on charges of spying for Israel.

"Jewish-American citizen Pollard," reported Israel's Public Radio, "is 60 years old. He will be released with limiting conditions, including his prohibition of leaving the US for 5 years, as well as banning him from access to the internet." The report added that Pollard's lawyers asked US President Barack Obama to allow him to travel to Israel immediately after his release. According to Channel 2 TV, the condition for this would be that he renounces his US citizenship. "This request will be difficult to grant in light of the Americans' strict bail conditions," it pointed out.

Since his arrest in November 1986, Pollard's supporters have sought his release in a sustained campaign; latterly, they have cited his ill-health as a reason for letting him go. The former civilian US Navy intelligence analyst was found guilty in 1987 of spying for Israel and jailed for life. Since then, successive US presidents have refused to release Pollard despite Israel's numerous requests.

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