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Pollard, in prison as spy for Israel, hospitalized amid calls for freedom

Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel, has been hospitalized at a prison medical center in Butner, N.C., since Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said Monday.

A lawyer for Pollard, 57, said that for over a year, his client has suffered from increasingly debilitating and incapacitating medical problems that have resulted in emergency surgeries and other emergency medical procedures.

Pollard's hospitalization brought renewed calls for his release from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. Peres dispatched a letter to President Obama asking him to free Pollard.

Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States have repeatedly refused Israeli appeals to release the convicted spy.

The White House said Monday that its position has not changed and that the president has no intention to release Pollard.

Pollard was a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy when he copied and gave to his Israeli handlers enough classified documents to fill a walk-in closet. Arrested in 1985 after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Pollard was convicted and sentenced two years later to life in prison.

Pollard attorney Eliot Lauer says his client's medical problems have included loss of balance, fainting, repeated falls, extreme dizziness, severe nausea and excruciating abdominal pain in the area of the gallbladder and pancreas. Lauer says excruciating pain was the immediate problem that caused the current hospitalization and that doctors are awaiting the results of tests to try to locate the nature of the problem.

In accordance with Bureau of Prisons policy, BOP spokeswoman Traci Billingsley declined to give the reason for Pollard being hospitalized.