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News: Former American Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard free to leave the United States

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Jonathan Pollard à sa sortie de prison le 20 novembre 2015 à New York. © SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP Jonathan Pollard on his release from prison on November 20, 2015 in New York.

After 30 years in prison and five years on parole, Jonathan Pollard now has the possibility of leaving the United States. The former US Navy analyst was arrested in 1985 for spying for the benefit of the Jewish state.

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Former American Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard, in the midst of a standoff between Washington and Israel , finished serving his sentence on Friday and is now free to leave the United States , according to the US Department of Justice.

This former US Navy analyst was arrested in 1985 for espionage for the benefit of the Jewish state.

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In the midst of the Cold War, the affair had sparked an acute crisis between the two countries, which was resolved after Israel's promise to put an end to all its espionage activities on American soil.

A national hero in Israel

Jonathan Pollard, who had pleaded guilty, was sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment. After 30 years in prison, he was released on parole in November 2015 with the obligation to wear an electronic bracelet, to respect a curfew and ban on leaving the United States for five more years.

At the end of this period, the Probation Commission, an agency of the Ministry of Justice, could have prolonged the situation. In a statement, she explained that she had examined his file and "judged that nothing indicated that he risked violating the law" . She then ordered “to lift the conditions imposed on her release” .

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Mr. Pollard, who is now 66, has regularly expressed his wish to move to Israel, where he obtained nationality in 1995 and where he is seen as a national hero by part of the population.

PLO HQ

"We are delighted that our client is finally freed from all restrictions, and we hope to see him soon in Israel" , commented in a statement his lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman.

They have not confirmed whether he intends to leave New York soon, where he has lived since 2015. He is, according to them, first "happy to finally be able to help his wife" , struggling against a aggressive cancer.

His case has long been a thorn in relations between Washington and Israel. The Israeli government has regularly asked the American authorities to join Israel, without success so far.

Senior Pentagon or CIA officials have never forgiven the spy for the mass of classified defense-secret information delivered for money, and in the midst of the Cold War, to the Israeli strategic ally of the United States. United.

Turn the page

He would have helped Israel in 1985 to bombard the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), then exiled in Tunisia, and to assassinate PLO number two, Abu Jihad, in Tunis in 1988.

But the two allies, who cooperate closely on intelligence, were keen to turn the page.

Asked during a press briefing on a possible intervention by President Donald Trump in the file, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany had assured that she had not been informed.

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