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November 21, 2015

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Spy Pollard free after 30 years

CONVICTED spy Jonathan Pollard has been released from prison, a US government agency and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday, culminating an extraordinary espionage case that occasionally complicated American-Israeli relations over nearly 30 years.

“The people of Israel welcome the release of Jonathan A. Pollard,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “As someone who raised Jonathan’s case for years with successive American presidents, I had long hoped this day would come,” he said.

Pollard’s release from a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina came nearly 30 years to the day after his arrest for providing large amounts of classified US government information to Israel.

Ed Ross, a spokesman for the US Bureau of Prisons, said: “As of this morning (Friday), Jonathan Pollard is no longer in BOP custody.” Officials at the Butner facility were not available to answer reporters’ questions yesterday.

“I have waited for this day for 30 long years, unbelievable,” Anne, his ex-wife told Army Radio. “It’s an amazing moment.”

Army Radio is a radio station in Israel.

Attorneys for Pollard did not respond to messages seeking confirmation of the 61-year-old’s newfound freedom.

Pollard had been granted parole this summer from a life sentence imposed in 1987. His lawyers have said they have secured a job and housing for him in the New York area, without elaborating. The terms of his parole require him to stay in the US for at least five years, though supporters — including Netanyahu and some members of Congress — are seeking permission for him to move to Israel immediately.

The saga involving Pollard for years divided public opinion in the US and became both an irritant and a bargaining chip between the US and Israel.

His release caps one of the most high-profile spy sagas in modern American history.



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