A prison parole board on Thursday granted an early release for Nissan “Niso” Shaham, a former Jerusalem police chief sentenced to 10 months in prison for sexual harassment, fraud, and breach of trust.
The Tzalmon Prison board made the decision despite the opposition of prosecutors and rehabilitation authorities. The Na’amat women’s right group slammed the development as “scandalous.”
Prosecutors asked for a delay in the release of Shaham, who began serving his sentence in March.
At the hearing, the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority said that a rehabilitation program was not suitable as he had not admitted guilt but rather continued to protest his innocence.
In reaching its decision, the parole board noted that Shaham had had no previous convictions, Channel 12 News reported. The board also noted that Shaham had been granted furloughs, including one last week, and that he his jail term came 10 years after the offenses were committed, and he had not broken the law in the intervening period.
The board said that a summary of treatment he has received found that Shaham had managed to “conduct an in-depth reflection and understand that this is unacceptable behavior” and has expressed sincere remorse. It also said that the prisoner had presented a private rehabilitation program and that one of his victims did not oppose his parole.
Hagit Pe’er, chair of the Na’amat rights group, said the parole board’s “scandalous behavior” was giving a “free pass to a sex offender.”
He was sentenced to prison in 2020 after a district court convicted him on charges relating to misconduct involving several female officers under his command. Along with the prison sentence, Shaham received five months of probation. He was also fined NIS 7,500 (approximately $2,400) and ordered to compensate two of the victims with NIS 1,500 (approximately $480) and a further victim with NIS 500 (approximately $160).
Shaham was first convicted in April 2018 for kissing a junior officer, but was acquitted of the other charges filed against him. Prosecutors had claimed that on several occasions Shaham had coerced police officers into sleeping with him, and later made decisions about their careers.
He was sentenced in December 2018 to community service, but in September 2019, the Tel Aviv District Court accepted the prosecution’s appeal, overturned the decision to clear Shaham of sexual harassment, fraud, and breach of trust, and convicted him of the original charges.