President Rivlin rejects former PM Olmert’s pardon request

While Israel’s president refused to pardon former Prime Minister Olmert, he did leave the door open to commuting his prison sentence to time served. 

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin rejected a pardon request from former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is serving 26 months of imprisonment for various corruption charges.

“Olmert’s unique circumstances…which include the depth of his fall (in reputation) and his many contributions as someone who served for many years in the highest offices of the nation and has contributed greatly to the State of Israel and its security, were all considered by the court when it delivered its sentence,” Rivlin’s office said in a statement.

“The president’s pardon powers are not an appeal process against a court decision, and therefore no grounds were found to grant a full pardon and release from prison.”

The president did say, however, that he may consider commuting Olmert’s sentence to time served if the parole board accepts his plea during an upcoming hearing in June. In that case, he would be released after serving two thirds of the sentence.

Olmert was originally sentenced to six years in prison for two separate charges of bribery when serving as Jerusalem’s mayor. In December 2015, Israel’s Supreme Court reduced the sentence to 18 months after overturning one of his bribery convictions.

Read  Netanyahu could avoid prison sentence in exchange for quitting politics - report

Last fall, Israel’s High Court of Justice upheld a lower court’s sentencing of the former premier to an additional eight months in prison for unlawfully accepting funds from an American Jewish businessman.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News