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Peres to raise Pollard issue with Obama [UPDATE]

JTA

June 11, 2012 | 4:37 pm

Israeli President Shimon Peres in Montreal on May 10. Photo by REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Israeli President Shimon Peres in Montreal on May 10. Photo by REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Israeli President Shimon Peres said he would raise clemency for Jonathan Pollard when he meets President Obama prior to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“I will speak one on one with the president about Pollard,” Peres told reporters after arriving Monday ahead of the Medal of Freedom ceremony on Wednesday. “The Israeli president also has the power of clemency—I understand all the problems associated with clemency. Clemency is not an extension of the judicial process, it includes considerations beyond and outside this area, and I’ll explain this to the president. I expect that I will explain my position, beyond that I can’t say—I don’t know what his considerations are. I intend on focusing on the humanitarian aspect.”

Efforts to persuade Obama to extend clemency to Pollard, sentenced to life in 1987 for spying for Israel, have intensified in recent months. Pollard is said to be in poor physical condition.

Meanwhile, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Itamar Rabinovich told Israel Radio on Monday that American officials suspect that there were other spies besides Pollard.

“The Americans suspect that Jonathan Pollard was not alone, that there were other Pollards and that Israel, despite all its promises, did not reveal all its cards,” he said, adding that in its sentence of Pollard, the U.S. was punishing Israel and “expressed their anger more with Israel than with Pollard.”

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