(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A light at the end of the tunnel may emerge during the Festival of Lights for former prime minister Ehud Olmert, whose parole hearing was set on Wednesday for December 25, the first day of Hanukka.
Olmert started serving his 19-month sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice in the Holyland real estate corruption affair in February.
He could be let out of prison for good behavior after serving two-thirds of the sentence.
But there are a couple of issues that could prevent Olmert’s parole. First of all, there are still cases pending against the former prime minister.
Olmert has appealed to the Supreme Court his conviction and sentence in the Talansky cash envelopes affair, which the Jerusalem District Court set at eight months. The state is appealing the suspended sentence given to Olmert for breach of trust in the Investment Center case, with the prosecution demanding a harsher punishment.
The same judges will decide both cases.
Also, while Olmert’s behavior in prison has been considered good, he did exploit regulations that permit any member of the Israel Bar Association to declare himself Olmert’s attorney.
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More than three dozen of Olmert’s friends have visited him in prison, including his close friend and former justice minister, Haim Ramon.
In the parole hearing, Olmert will sit before a judge and two representatives of the public. Representatives of the Prisons Service and the State’s Attorney’s Office will testify.
A source close to Olmert expressed concern that his parole could be denied because he is a public figure, as former president Moshe Katsav claims happened to him.
“I don’t see any reason to tell him no, because he fits every criteria,” a source close to Olmert said. “I hope they don’t treat him any differently or make an example out of him.”
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