Jonathan Pollard, the convicted American spy for Israel, began his 29th year behind bars today.

Thursday marked the 28th anniversary of Pollard’s arrest outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. His time in prison has been marked by myriad protests calling for his release, including a vocal effort in Israel.

On Wednesday, the convict’s wife, Esther, called on President Barack Obama to commute her husband’s sentence to time served and release him from prison.

Esther Pollard also criticized Israeli President Shimon Peres for saying the US president has responded favorably to all Israeli requests. Last year, Peres formally asked Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence.

Pollard, a civilian US Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987, despite a plea bargain in which he admitted his guilt. Several Israeli leaders and an increasing number of US political figures from both parties have made requests that the United States pardon Pollard.

Pollard was made a citizen of Israel during his imprisonment. He will be eligible for parole in two years.

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