Israeli spy Pollard to be released on parole Nov 21: Lawyers

Jonathan Pollard, a former US Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel, will be released on parole November 21 after serving 30 years in prison, his lawyers said Tuesday.

Washington: Jonathan Pollard, a former US Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel, will be released on parole November 21 after serving 30 years in prison, his lawyers said Tuesday.

"The decision to grant parole was made unanimously by the three members of the (US) Parole Commission, who make their decisions independently of any other US government agency," the lawyers said in a statement.

US Secretary of State John Kerry denied that Pollard`s release was related to the Iran nuclear agreement, which Israel has vehemently opposed.

"No, no, no. Truthfully. I haven`t even had a conversation with them," he told reporters.

Pollard`s lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, also insisted: "The decision is not connected to recent developments in the Middle East."

The case has been a major thorn in US-Israeli relations since Pollard pleaded guilty in 1987 to spying for Israel and providing it with top secret information while he worked for US Navy intelligence.

He was sentenced to life in prison, the only American ever to receive such a heavy sentence for passing classified information to a US ally.

It made him a cause celebre for many Israelis, but US officials had adamantly opposed clemency until now.

His lawyers said they were notified by the Justice Department on July 1 that it would not seek denial of parole at his July 7 parole hearing.

Had parole been denied, Pollard would have had to serve another 15 years in prison.