Parole board report said to raise chance of Olmert’s early release
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Parole board report said to raise chance of Olmert’s early release

Despite positive portrayal of ex-PM’s prison conduct, separate opinion says he has not expressed full remorse for his crimes

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on February 10, 2016. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on February 10, 2016. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

A report prepared by the Israel Prisons Service will reportedly not raise any objections to the early release of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, raising the chances that the parole board will reduce his sentence at an upcoming hearing.

According to a Channel 2 report on Wednesday, the IPS report paints a largely positive picture of Olmert’s time in prison and does not contain material that would prevent the reduction of his sentence by a third for good behavior.

However, a second report, prepared by the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority, was said to have offered a more critical portrait of the former prime minister.

The Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority report says that although Olmert has expressed regret and apologized for his actions, he has not offered his full remorse, which is seen as key to paving the way for early release, Channel 2 said.

Olmert, who is serving a 27-month jail sentence on various corruption charges, will have his first hearing before a parole board in June.

He was one of eight former officials and businessmen convicted in March 2014 in the Holyland real estate corruption case, which has been characterized as among the largest graft cases in Israel’s history.

A bird's eye view of the Holyland complex, one of the first of Jerusalem's high-rise projects (Nati Shochat/Flash 90)
A bird’s eye view of the Holyland complex, one of the first of Jerusalem’s high-rise projects (Nati Shochat/Flash 90)

In March, President Reuven Rivlin rejected a pardon request for Olmert, saying there were no grounds to let the former premier go early.

The decision came two weeks after Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked requested the ex-premier be released, even as officials in her ministry recommended against it.

Olmert began serving his sentence at Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle in February 2016.

He was sentenced in 2014 to six years in prison over two separate charges of taking bribes in the early 2000s, when he served as mayor of Jerusalem. That sentence was reduced to 18 months after the Supreme Court overturned one of his convictions on appeal.

In September 2016, Olmert was sentenced to an additional eight months behind bars for the so-called Talansky affair. In that case, a court upheld a 2015 conviction over his accepting envelopes full of cash from American businessman and fundraiser Morris Talansky in exchange for political favors during his decade-long term as mayor from 1993 to 2003.

The Prisons Service refitted a wing in the Ramle prison to house the former prime minister, the first former premier to serve jail time, keeping him in a separate complex shared only by carefully screened fellow convicts.

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