The U.S. Department of Justice is “seriously” considering the release of Jonathan Pollard later on this year, a source with knowledge of the matter revealed to The Algemeiner on Friday.
Pollard, who was jailed in 1987 after he admitted to passing classified information to Israel, would be released on Nov. 21 when he is eligible for parole, according to the source, who did not wish to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The release would come at the 30th anniversary of his arrest and amid a number of reports in recent years of his ill health and hospitalization. Pollard will be 61 years old on Aug. 7 and is being held at a federal prison in Butner, N.C.
The source stressed that the release is not connected in any way to the Iran nuclear deal announced this week on Tuesday, which has been a major source of tension between the U.S. and Israel.
There will be “no special exemptions,” the source said.
Last November, a group campaigning for the release of Pollard said a parole board denied a request to free him after American officials said the release would send the wrong message, The Times of Israel reported. At the time, the group said it would release information pointing to the White House’s attempts to prevent Pollard from going free, according to the report.
Pollard canceled a parole board hearing at the last minute in April 2014 amid reports that his release could be secured as part of a political deal at the time to salvage U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, The Times of Israel said.
Pollard is believed to be the only American ever to receive a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the United States. Israeli officials, American and Israeli activist groups, and American politicians who see his punishment as unfair have lobbied continuously for a reduction or commutation of his sentence.