Published: Mon, July 03, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Former PM Olmert goes home after serving partial sentence

Former PM Olmert goes home after serving partial sentence

Israeli ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert was freed from prison today after being granted parole from a 27-month sentence for corruption scandals that brought down his promising political career.

"He left the prison almost 30 minutes ago", Assaf Librati said.

In a video message released just before he began his sentence, Olmert, a debonair man reputed to have a taste for fine cigars, maintained his innocence.

Prison Service spokesman Assaf Librati said the terms of Olmert's early release stipulate that for the next while, he must do volunteer work and appear before police twice a month.

The parole board decided that Olmert's rehabilitation program, designed by the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority, is to remain confidential. He faces new charges of trying to smuggle top secret information out of jail by asking his lawyer to get transcripts of his memoirs out of prison without the censors seeing it.

"All this significantly diminishes the risk he will deviate again from honest practice".

Olmert is expected to appeal for a pardon to President Reuven Rivlin, the spokesperson said, adding that a request if approved would cancel his parole terms.

Last week Olmert was taken to hospital with complaints of pain in the chest.

A picture of a gaunt Olmert in hospital robes eating from plastic utensils found its way to social media, evoking a wave of sympathy from the public as well as politicians calling for his early release.

Olmert was convicted in 2014 in a wide-ranging case that accused him of accepting bribes to promote a real-estate project in Jerusalem and obstructing justice.

The charges related to a period when he was mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister before he became premier in 2006.

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