(photo credit: REUTERS)
The parole board will decide on Thursday whether to grant imprisoned former prime minister Ehud Olmert early release as he faces a new probe into alleged document leaking from prison.
Olmert, who is serving a 27-month sentence in Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle for bribery, fraud, and other charges, is asking for his sentence to be reduced by a third; he entered prison in February 2016.
The chances of Olmert being granted early release are slim, according to a Channel 2 report on Wednesday, as there is an ongoing probe into alleged classified documents being leaked by Olmert as he wrote his memoir from prison. However, if the parole board decides to not consider the memoir probe in its decision, there is a chance the former premier will be released due to good behavior.
The State Attorney’s Office, according to leaks of a parole board hearing published by Channel 2, believes it has “discovered criminal patterns” in the memoir probe similar to those alleged in the Rishon Tours double-billing affair in which Olmert was exonerated in 2012. However, a full criminal investigation has yet to been opened into the former prime minister over the new allegations.
One of Olmert’s attorneys was detained in May when he was caught with the allegedly classified materials in his possession following a visit with the former head of government.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s office said earlier this month that one of Olmert’s lawyers was caught smuggling out of prison portions of the manuscript, which contain classified information.
Olmert’s attorney said that his client has never leaked any classified documents and “does not require any seal of approval as to his connection and responsibility for subjects that are related to Israel’s national security.”
Police then raided the book publishing offices of Yediot Aharonot on June 15, seizing Olmert’s approximately 1,400-page book and around 11,000 emails. The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court ordered the police to return the vast majority of documents seized, as they do not pertain to the allegedly leaked classified information, however, police have requested a delay in returning the documents, stating that they found additional suspicious materials.
The ex-premier was released from the hospital on Tuesday after he suffered from chest pains. Following a leaked photo of gaunt-looking Olmert in a hospital gown, Education Minister Naftali Bennett called for his release.
“Despite our differences of opinion, there is no disputing his decisive contribution to Israeli security in a series of courageous decisions. The time has come to have mercy on him,” Bennett said.