Former prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, February 10, 2016.
(photo credit: POOL/OLIVIA FITUSSI)
The Parole Board said Sunday it will decide June 29 whether to grant former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s request for an early release from prison.
The decision followed a lengthy hearing on the issue on Sunday in which the prosecution tried unsuccessfully to postpone the issue.
Olmert has served 16 months of a 27-month sentence at Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle for separate convictions resulting from three affairs: Holyland real estate; Talansky “envelopes of money;” and Shula Zaken obstruction of justice tapes.
The heart of his argument for early release is that most convicts are released when they have served two-thirds of their time, assuming they did not commit a violent crime, which he did not.
Olmert’s lawyers have argued that as the first prime minister to go behind bars, he has suffered uniquely and served his time for economic crimes that, in the end, only represented a small part of what he was originally accused of.
The prosecution has rejected the early release request on a number of grounds, including that Olmert is currently under a preliminary review for allegedly leaking classified documents.
Police on Thursday raided the book publishing offices of Yediot Aharonot in Rishon Lezion after Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit authorized the review, based upon which he would decide if the incident warranted opening a full criminal investigation.
Olmert had started writing a memoir and asked his lawyer to bring materials, some of them allegedly classified, to his jail cell as background for the book. The former prime minister’s attorney was detained in May after he was caught with the materials in his possession following a visit with Olmert. The Israel Prison Service subsequently denied the former prime minister access to public phones and vacations.
The probe is expected to include a variety of people who visited Olmert in prison while he was writing the book.
According to the Justice Ministry, Olmert had been warned that the censor had prohibited the information from being published.
In a statement last month, Olmert’s attorney’s said his client “does not require any seal of approval as to his connection and responsibility for subjects that are related to Israel’s national security. He has never leaked anything sensitive on subjects of security or intelligence that could have damaged the State of Israel” and Olmert has submitted his autobiography to the Censor’s Office.
“During his time in prison, Mr.Olmert wrote an autobiographical book that deals with his life affairs and his activities in social, financial and crucial security subjects,” the attorney said.Maariv
’s Ben Caspit, whose biography of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also was unexplainably confiscated by police during the search of Yediot
, said earlier Sunday: “It’s incredible that they take a book from the publisher. Since I was told on Friday, I feel like I am in a bad movie. I have warned it can happen and now that it happens I don’t know how it can.”Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.