Peres Will Ask Obama for Humanitarian Pardon for Pollard

June 11, 2012  

President Shimon Peres will ask President Barack Obama to grant a pardon for Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds.

Pollard, incarcerated for some 27 years on a single charge of passing classified information to an ally (Israel), has been in increasingly poor health. He was hospitalized several times over the past year, including for emergency surgery.

Peres has said he will discuss the issue of a pardon for Pollard with Obama during a private meeting. Since he is himself a president who has the ability to grant pardons, Peres said, he understands the many concerns involved.

The Israeli president spoke with reporters at a briefing he held at Blair House, the official White House guest residence at which he is staying while in Washington D.C.

The issue will come as one of a number of other items to be discussed this week between the two men.

A petition for Pollard’s release bearing some 70,000 signatures of prominent Israelis, backed by media support from the entire political spectrum, will be underlying the discussions.

Peres was received at the Pentagon Monday with a special ceremony, and is scheduled for a talk with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday at the Saban Center of the Brookings Institute.

Peres is to be honored by Obama with the Medal of Freedom at a special dinner Wednesday evening, before returning to Israel on Thursday.

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