(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
President Reuven Rivlin has denied on Sunday a plea for clemency by 29-year-old Yonatan Heilo who was convicted of manslaughter after killing six years ago the man who had repeatedly raped, tormented and blackmailed him. In addition to a request sent on Heilo’s behalf by his lawyer Alon Eisenberg, 65 members of Knesset also asked Rivlin to show compassion after Heilo had served five years of a 12 year sentence.
In denying the request, Rivlin explained that the Supreme Court had already shown leniency by reducing Heilo’s sentence from murder to manslaughter and from 20 years to 12 years. "The institution for clemency and pardons," the president clarified, "is not an additional recourse for appeal following a decision by the Supreme Court.''
"Moreover, the stated background to the request was virtually identical to the appeal that had been previously made to the Supreme Court which had taken all the circumstances into account."
In view of this, with all the sympathy that the President has for Heilo in the full realization of what he has suffered and how painful this was for him, he must abide by the rules, Rivlin explained.
However, Rivlin did leave Heilo with a glimmer of hope, stating that should he care to appeal again in the future, the appeal will be weighed on its merits in relation to his behavior and rehabilitation while in prison.