Wednesday, July 09, 2008


On November 21, 2007 Jonathan Pollard entered his 23rd year of a life sentence for his activities on behalf of Israel.

The median sentence for the offense Pollard committed - one count of passing classified information to an ally - is 2 to 4 years. Pollard received his life sentence without a trial, as a result of a plea bargain which he honored and the U.S. government violated.

For more information, see the Pollard Case Information page and Israel Celebrates 60 Years.


Comparative Sentences

The following tables indicate how grossly disproportionate Pollard's life sentence is when compared to the sentences of others who spied for allied nations.

Pollard's life sentence is also disproportionate even when compared to the sentences of those who committed far more serious offences by spying for enemy nations.


Table I: American Allies

  • Jonathan Pollard is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally.
  • On November 21, 2007, Pollard entered the 23rd year of his life sentence, with no end in sight.
  • The maximum sentence today for such an offence is 10 years.
  • The median sentence for this offence is 2 to 4 years.

Name Country Spied For Sentence/Punishment Time Served
Before Release*
Jonathan Pollard Israel Life imprisonment
Michael Schwartz Saudi Arabia Discharged from Navy No time served.
Peter Lee China 1 year in halfway house No jail time.
Ronald Montaperto China 3 months
Xiaodong Sheldon Meng China 2 years
Samuel Morison Great Britain 2 years 3 months
Phillip Selden El Salvador 2 years
Steven Baba South Africa 8 years; reduced to 2 years 5 months
Sharon Scranage Ghana 5 years; reduced to 2 years 8 months
Jean Baynes Phillipines 41 months 15 months
Abdul Kader Helmy Egypt 4 years 2 years
Geneva Jones Liberia 37 months
Frederick Hamilton Ecuador 37 months
Joseph Brown Phillipines 6 years
Michael Ray Aquino Phillipines 6 years and 4 months
Michael Allen Phillipines 8 years
Robert Kim South Korea 9 years 7 years
Leandro Aragoncillo Phillipines 10 years
Thomas Dolce South Africa 10 years 5.2 years
Steven Lalas Greece 14 years

* Time served before release is shown where known. Other cases of early release exist.


Table II: American Enemies

Jonathan Pollard spied for an American ally. This chart shows that Pollard's life sentence is far harsher than most of the sentences received by those who spied for enemies, and thereby committed much more serious offences and treason.

Name Country Spied For Sentence Time Served
Before Release*
Alberto Coll Cuba 1 year
James Wood Soviet Union 2 years
Sahag Dedyan Soviet Union 3 years
Elsa Alvarez Cuba 3 years
Randy Jeffries Soviet Union 3-9 years
Amarylis Santos Cuba 3½ years
Joseph Santos Cuba 4 years
Carlos Alvarez Cuba 5 years
Mariano Faget Cuba 5 years
Brian Horton Soviet Union 6 years
Alejandro Alonso Cuba 7 years
William Bell Poland 8 years
Alfred Zoho East Germany 8 years
Nikolay Ogarodnikova Soviet Union 8 years
Francis X. Pizzo Soviet Union 10 years
Daniel Richardson Soviet Union 10 years
Ernst Forbich East Germany 15 years
William Whalen Soviet Union 15 years
Edwin Moore Soviet Union 15 years
Troung Dinh Ung North Vietnam 15 years
Ronald Humphrey North Vietnam 15 years
Kurt Alan Stand East Germany 17½ years
Robert Lipka Soviet Union 18 years
David Barnett Soviet Union 18 years
Svetlana Ogarodnikova Soviet Union 18 years
Albert Sombolay Iraq & Jordan 19 years
Richard Miller Soviet Union 20 years 6 years
Theresa Maria Squillacote East Germany 21.8 years
Sarkis Paskallan Soviet Union 22 years
Harold Nicholson Soviet Union 23 years
David Boone Soviet Union 24 years
Ana Belen Montes Cuba 25 years
Clayton Lonetree Soviet Union 25 years 9 years
Michael Walker Soviet Union 25 years 15 years
Bruce Ott Soviet Union 25 years
Kelly Warren Hungary &
Czechoslovakia
25 years
Earl Pitts Soviet Union 27 years
H.W. Boachanhaupi Soviet Union 30 years
Roderick Ramsay Hungary &
Czechoslovakia
36 years
James Hall Soviet Union
& East Germany
40 years
Christopher Boyce Soviet Union 40 years
William Kampiles Soviet Union 40 years 19 years
Veldik Enger Soviet Union 50 years
R.P. Charnyayev Soviet Union 50 years
Marian Zacharski Poland Life 4 years
Aldrich Ames Soviet Union Life
Robert Hanssen Soviet Union Life

* Time served before release is shown where known. Other cases of early release exist.

Aldrich Ames: A Case In Point

Aldrich Ames who spied for an enemy nation (the Soviet Union), committed treason, and was responsible for the deaths of at least 11 American agents, received the same sentence as Jonathan Pollard. Pollard's only indictment was one count of passing classified information to an ally. Pollard spent 7 years in solitary confinement, in the harshest unit of the harshest prison in the Federal system - FCI Marion.

Aldrich Ames' treatment was far more benign, and (except for a relatively short period of time during debriefing) did not include the rigours of long years of solitary; nor was he ever subjected to the harsh conditions of "K" Unit at Marion - even though his offence was far more serious.

3 comments:

Rachel said...

Nu? You have a Jewish audience, so add this in... Yehonatan ben Malka.

the sabra said...

Did it. Thanks. I've been meaning to do him as well as the 5 Israeli MIAs for the longest time. It's too painful.

Rachel said...

We are telepathic. Last night after Shema I lay in bed thinking about them for a while. When I couldn't fall asleep I just got up and went to the computer.... and this was sitting in my email.