Saperstein calls for Pollard clemency

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A top Reform Jewish leader is urging President George Bush to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard.

"As we noted in a 1993 Union of Reform Judaism resolution, we neither condone breaking the law, nor do we make this request out of a belief that Jonathan Pollard is innocent of the crime for which he is charged," wrote Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in a letter sent last month to Bush. "However, Mr. Pollard’s sentence is grossly disproportionate to sentences that others have received for comparable espionage offenses. Only those who spied for enemy nations have received life sentences."

Saperstein made a similar call for clemency for Pollard at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency, and has spoken out on the issue at other times during the Clinton and Bush presidencies.

Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 after pleading guilty to one count of delivering classifed information to Israel.

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