After his release from a federal prison in North Carolina early Friday morning, Jonathan Pollard traveled to New York City and spent his first Shabbat as a free man in three decades with his wife Esther.
Under the strict parole conditions imposed on him, Pollard must remain in the U.S. for five years.
In New York City on Friday, Pollard was set up for electronic monitoring as required under his parole, according to spokesmen for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Marshals Service.
“After 30 years in prison, [Pollard] wants to get his life back on track,” said Eliot Lauer, one of Pollard’s attorneys.
Pollard, who was granted Israeli citizenship while in prison, has said he wants to emigrate to Israel, where his wife lives and where he can expect to receive substantial Israeli government back pay.
“I’m sorry, I can’t comment on anything today,” the 61-year-old Pollard told a swarm of reporters as he left the courthouse in Manhattan with his wife, after being fitted for the monitoring.
Pollard’s lawyers filed a petition with the court, seeking to rescind the parole conditions, calling them “onerous and oppressive.”
Pollard will be required to wear an electronic bracelet so his movements can be monitored at all times.
His computers and those of his employer will be subjected to unfettered monitoring, something his lawyers said could prevent Pollard from starting a job in research at an unnamed New York City investment firm.
“It’s impossible in 2015 to conduct a serious professional job without use of the Internet,” Lauer explained to Reuters. “The parole commission has imposed a restriction that any Internet use be subject to universal monitoring by the federal government. As a result, since it’s unrealistic to expect any employer to consent to unrestricted, unfettered searching of its computer system by the federal government, in effect, this restriction prevents Mr. Pollard from working gainfully.”
Pollard’s lawyers have asked U.S. President Barack Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence, which would allow him to go to Israel immediately.
“The simplest and most effective way to put the appropriate capstone on the Pollard case would be for the president in the exercise of his discretion to commute the sentence to time served and as a result Mr. Pollard would be free to live here, would be free to travel, would be free to move to Israel if that is what he is interested in doing,” Lauer said.
U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama “has no plans to alter the forms of his parole” to allow him to leave the United States.
By Yoni Hersch/Israel Hayom Staff