(JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres asked President Obama to release convicted spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard.
Peres told Pollard’s wife, Esther, on Monday that he discussed the possibility of releasing Jonathan Pollard, who has been jailed for 27 years since being convicted of espionage in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison, during his meeting with Obama on Sunday at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also was set to raise the issue of releasing Pollard with the U.S. president during Monday’s meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office told Ynet.
American Jewish groups have long sought Pollard’s release, arguing that he has received a sentence far harsher than others convicted of similar espionage crimes. Pollard also has expressed remorse and is said to be suffering from medical ailments.
In recent years, a renewed push on his behalf has gained support from a number of members of Congress from both parties as well as former U.S. government officials.