World

WASHINGTON (Web Desk) – Jonathan Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel, has been released on parole after spending 30 years in a US prison, the BBC reported on Friday.


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However, the Obama administration has no plans to let him leave the country and move to Israel as he has requested.

The former US Navy intelligence officer, now 61, was caught selling classified documents in 1985 and given a life sentence two years later.

WAS01:MIDEAST-SUMMIT-POLLARD:WYE MILLS,MARYLAND,23OCT98 - FILE PHOTO 6APR86 - Jonathan Pollard is driven away from U.S. District Court in Washington, April 6, 1986, after pleading guilty to spying on the United States. A dispute over releasing Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel, held up plans for signing an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians October 23, an Israeli official said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thought he had an understanding that U.S. President Bill Clinton would pardon Pollard when Israel signs the agreement, Israeli sources said. "They (the Americans) informed him (Netanyahu) an hour ago that Pollard won't be released," a senior Israeli source added.    (NO ARK, NO ONLINES, NO SALES, FOR ONE TIME USE ONLY)  hb/Photo by Corbis-Bettmann     REUTERS

Under federal parole rules, Mr. Pollard cannot leave the country without permission for at least five years. But his wife, Esther, lives in Israel and he has asked to be reunited with her there.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel personally raised the request in a meeting with President Obama earlier this month, but the president was unmoved, according to American officials and the Israeli news media.

Pollard has been serving his sentence at a prison in North Carolina. His parole terms bar him from leaving the United States without permission for five years.

Successive Israeli governments have tried to secure Pollard’s freedom, in a case that has caused tension between the two countries.

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Last year it was reported that the US was considering freeing Pollard in exchange for the continuation of peace talks and significant concessions from Israel to the Palestinians.

Earlier this year, Pollard’s lawyers said that they had found employment and accommodation for their client in the New York area, but gave no further details.

At the time of his arrest, Pollard said he gave classified documents to Israel because the US was not passing on important information.

However, some intelligence officials have said that he also offered information to other countries.

Israel initially denied Pollard had spied for them. However, in 1996, Israel made Pollard a citizen and two years later officials admitted he was their agent.