ROCHESTER, Minn. (Feb. 13)
The federal magistrate hearing the case of Anne Henderson Pollard ruled Thursday that the Federal Medical Center prison facility here has the right to continue a 24-hour watch of Pollard, despite her private physician’s contention that such surveillance could be harmful to her medical treatment.
Magistrate Janice Symchych, presiding over the prison courtroom hearing, refused to suspend the continuous surveillance placed on the wife of Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying for Israel, saying medical opinion was divided on the value of the close observation.
That decision, however, is pending further medical testimony, which is expected to be presented at the hearing’s continuation, scheduled for this Thursday and Friday.
Anne Pollard did not take the witness stand Thursday because of the length of testimony and cross-examination by her personal and prison physicians and a warden.
Her attorneys are undecided whether she will testify when the hearing resumes.
This hearing marked the first time Pollard has been able to legally direct her grievances to prison or medical authorities. She has claimed–through her family and attorneys — that prison authorities have forbidden her to have the treatment she needs for several diseases which she claims are life-threatening.
Dramatic events within the past month, however, have allowed her attorneys to successfully petition for a hearing to determine whether Pollard has been subjected to “cruel and unusual punishment.”
She reportedly suffers from several serious ailments, including digestive and gynecological disorders, a skin disease — visible in the courtroom below her rolled-up sleeves — as well as a neurological disorder.
Pollard appeared pale and bone-thin as she entered the courtroom Thursday hugging her father, Bernard Henderson.
On Thursday, Dr. Edward Michael Goldberg, a Chicago gastrointestinal specialist who treated Pollard prior to her arrest and imprisonment, testified at length on the severity of his patient’s ailments, some of which could prove lethal without proper treatment, he said.
Pollard’s attorney, P. Hamilton Fox, a former Watergate prosecutor, had asked for an order blocking the 24-hour watch, but Symchych denied the request.
Prison supervising physician Dr. Martha Grogan testified the watch was “the only way we can get an accurate assessment of what she’s eating and drinking.”
(JTA reporter Susan Birnbaum in New York contributed to this report.)