Prison Official Assures Supporters of Better Treatment for Pollards
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Prison Official Assures Supporters of Better Treatment for Pollards

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Bureau of Prisons Director J. Michael Quinlan assured a group of religious leaders Tuesday that Anne Henderson Pollard, wife of convicted spy Jonathan Jay Pollard, will receive certain improvements in her treatment in prison, bureau spokeswoman Kathryn Morse said Tuesday.

She said that Quinlan agreed to allow rabbis to visit Anne and Jonathan privately. Also, he promised to allow two of Anne Pollard’s doctors to visit her.

But Morse disputed a claim by one member of the group, Rev. William Harter of Chambersburg, Pa., that Pollard would also be allowed to take certain medications currently being denied to her. Morse said Quinlan simply agreed to “look at” the medicine issue. The drug in question, Domperidone, would help her digest food.

Morse could not be reached to confirm or deny Harter’s statements that Quinlan also agreed to lift media restrictions on Anne Pollard, and to consider transferring her to a prison closer to her hometown. She is currently at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn.

Anne Pollard, who is serving a five-year sentence with no parole for being an accessory to her husband’s crime, suffers from a debilitating disorder called biliary dyskinesia, and has had difficulty digesting food.

Jonathan Pollard, who was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, is incarcerated at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, III., which Morse said is the highest security U.S. prison.

Quinlan met with an ad hoc group called the Ecumenical Coalition to Save Anne Pollard’s Life, represented by Bernard Henderson, Anne Pollard’s father; Rev. Frank Eiklor, president of Shalom International; Rabbi Richard Yellin, of Congregation Mishkan Tefila of Chestnut Hill, Mass; Sister Rose Thering, professor of education at Seton Hall University; and Harter.


After the meeting, the group held a rally for more than an hour near the Bureau of Prisons here. Henderson, one of the last speakers, said “to come here and hear promises made after months and months of struggle, is truly heart-warming and has made a difference.”

Henderson also used the platform to say that “my daughter is not really guilty of any crime. Taking a suitcase to a closet… is not a crime anywhere in the world.”

Yellin, who is also chairman of the domestic affairs committee of the Synagogue Council of America, read a letter he has written to President Reagan urging that the Pollards be pardoned.

An official at the Synagogue Council in New York said Yellin’s letter does not convey the council’s position, but is a “personal” one.

On Anne Pollard’s treatment in prison, Henderson said she was “deprived of her access to the press… adequate medical treatment, and suffered cruel and unusual punishment. She was deprived of the ability to see her own rabbi. She has had two rabbis now who have been forbidden to see her.”

In addition, he said, “There are religious violations that have occurred weekly if not daily.”

Marvin Wilson, professor of biblical and theological studies at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., recited a prayer asking that God intercede on Anne Pollard’s behalf, and asking Him to “stay the hands of any who would deal with this precious life in a cavalier, hardhearted or pitiless manner.”

Eiklor, organizer of the ad hoc group, heads Shalom International, based in California, which “serves as a Christian catalyst in confronting walls of hatred,” as stated in the group’s literature.

It combats anti-Semitism and defends “Israel’s unequivocal importance to America as a genuine friend and ally.”

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