Former Israeli PM Olmert granted early prison release

Ehud Olmert, who is serving a 27-month prison sentence for corruption, will be released on Sunday.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The 71-year-old Olmert will be released on Sunday after he completes two-thirds of his sentence.

A parole committee has decided to grant early release to Israel's former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who is serving a 27-month prison sentence for corruption, his lawyer said on Thursday.

"The committee accepted all our arguments," Olmert's lawyer Shani Illouz told public radio.

"As of now, Olmert will be released on Sunday," she said, noting the justice ministry could still appeal the decision.

The 71-year-old Olmert, who was prime minister between 2006 and 2009, was convicted of graft and entered prison in February 2016.

His Sunday release would be after he completes two-thirds of his sentence.

Olmert was taken to the hospital last week, complaining of chest pains, Israeli media reports said. He was returned to prison on Tuesday after tests and treatment.

First former prime minister to serve jail time

Over the past several weeks, Olmert was again in the Israeli headlines after police raided a publishing house over suspicions a memoir he is writing contained security secrets that had not been cleared by the country's military censor.

Any attempt at a political comeback seems unlikely. A court found that his crimes entailed "moral turpitude," which under Israeli law would preclude Olmert from running for public office for seven years after his release.

Olmert is Israel's first former prime minister to serve jail time.

He resigned as prime minister in September 2008 after police recommended he be indicted for graft, but remained in office until March 2009, when Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in to the post, which he has held ever since.

Olmert won international acclaim for re-launching peace efforts with the Palestinians at the Annapolis conference in the US in 2007, but they failed to bear fruit and the corruption charges against him have come to define his legacy.

TRTWorld and agencies