Israel asks U.S. to let spy out of jail for funeral

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 19, 2011 1:18 PM
Israel asks U.S. to let spy out of jail for funeral

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel appealed to the United States Sunday to allow imprisoned spy Jonathan Pollard out of jail to attend his father's funeral, Israeli Army Radio reported.

Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, has been serving a life sentence in the United States since he was caught spying for Israel in the 1980s, triggering a scandal that rocked U.S.-Israeli relations.

Israeli media said Pollard's father died in an Indiana hospital Saturday. Army Radio said a top advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent an official request to the White House to allow Pollard out for the funeral.

An Israeli government official, who asked not to be named, said that "such a message has been sent to the White House," but would not give further details.

Pollard, who admitted spying for Israel, was arrested in 1985 and sentenced for providing tens of thousands of pages of classified information to Israel. Netanyahu in January asked U.S. President Barack Obama to grant him clemency.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jan Harvey)