Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert waits to hear his verdict at the Tel Aviv District Court, March 31, 2014..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has recommended to President Reuven Rivlin that he commute the sentence of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who is one year into a 27-month jail sentence for three separate convictions.
Notably, Shaked’s proposal, which first became known late on Wednesday night, goes against the judgment of the Justice Ministry’s Pardons Office, which recommended firmly rejecting Olmert’s request.
The justice minister did not unequivocally recommend that Olmert’s sentence be commuted, but did suggest Rivlin should be open to the possibility in light of the former prime minister’s unique contributions to the state’s national security and of his already having served a substantial portion of his sentence.
Rivlin’s office responded that “the letter of the minister as well as the recommendation of the Justice Ministry have not yet been filed with the president. Per procedure, they will both be reviewed and carefully considered before he makes a decision.”
Olmert’s request to commute his sentence was first reported on January 31.
He has already been granted brief furloughs since his incarceration and has had many visitors at Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle, most of them lawyers, purporting to be his legal counsel, but who were also personal friends. Among those friends were American attorneys Prof. Alan Dershowitz and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, both of whom have said Olmert was in good spirits.
His 27-month sentence consists of an 18-month sentence for bribery in the Holyland real estate scandal, an eight month sentence for fraud and breach of trust in the Talansky Affair, and a one month sentence for obstruction of justice in the Shula Zaken recordings saga.
To date, Rivlin has been able to avoid many of the controversial pardon requests that might have landed on his desk.