No more perks for Omri

Our restless politicians keep serving up disturbing precedents and surprises almost daily.

December 14, 2005 02:47
3 minute read.
omri sharon 298.88

omri sharon 224.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])


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Our restless politicians, evidently out to topple any remaining norms of propriety, keep serving up disturbing precedents and surprises almost daily. Thus we're now informed that MK Omri Sharon, the prime minister's son, has petitioned the Tel Aviv Magis trate's Court to postpone his sentencing, currently scheduled for January 23. Sharon pleaded guilty on November 15 to charges that he concealed illegal donations to his father's election campaigns. His admission of guilt resulted in an automatic conviction. The most serious of the charges relate to false entries in corporation documents, which is subject to a jail sentence of up to five years, and perjury, which could bring a three year sentence. Both of these charges are for violations of the Criminal Code, while other charges in the indictment derive from the Political Parties Law. Since the younger Sharon and the prosecution agreed to a plea bargain, the prosecution isn't likely to demand more than nine months behind bars. Sharon is pushing for no p rison time. Ordinarily the serious crimes involved would mean a sentence of several years at the least. Sharon already enjoys breaks unavailable to run-of-the-mill miscreants, who don't get the opportunity to dispatch their attorneys to hobnob with the h ighest prosecution echelons. But Sharon-the-son isn't apparently content to count his blessings and keep a low profile. Instead, he tries to set new records for impudence. He now demands that the judges not sentence him until after the elections, tho ugh simultaneously announcing he won't be a Knesset candidate this March. His rationale is that should his sentence be handed down prior to election day, it might adversely impact his father's prospects. It is precisely because of the father's campaign t hat this case needs closure before we go to the polls. Omri Sharon's felonies were committed on his father's behalf. He in a sense became the prime minister's fall guy. Had the younger Sharon not confessed, his father could well have faced difficult cro ss-examination in court. The confession not only saved the prime minister from acute legal and political distress, but it also denied the general public the disclosures and accountability to which voters are eminently entitled. Having already transgresse d against civic hygiene, we find Omri's demand to keep more from the public an affront against the basic obligation of elected representatives in a democracy. On July 29 he told Ma'ariv: "I wanted to see my father win, which is why I did what I did." To now argue that he should be awarded extra time so that his father's chances won't be compromised is colossal gall. If anything, cases such as his must be speeded up and not swept under the carpet. The public has the right to know whom it elects. This is true both to establish guilt and exact punishment, as well as to clear suspects - some not even indicted but sullied by innuendo and police leaks. All pending cases should be dealt with expeditiously - and, where possible, before we cast our ballo ts. The Knesset's least active parliamentarian, who refused to yield his seat and escaped suspension only because of committee votes supplied by political cronies, won't himself seek reelection. His father's candidacy ought to be legally irrelevant for the court. Moreover, it takes unusual temerity to suggest, as Omri Sharon also has, that electioneering might sway the court if it sentences him as scheduled. We're not dealing with a jury but with professional judges. The system already bent over bac kwards to accommodate him. For him to nevertheless carp about bias is ingratitude in the extreme. Finally, to expect special treatment beyond that so generously already accorded him opens the door wide for others to request equal perks. Yesterday Hebron's Baruch Marzel, candidate on the self-styled Jewish National Front list, called on the attorney-general to defer proceedings against him for trespassing into an area the IDF closed off during disengagement. Marzel's alleged offense hardly carries the sa me moral turpitude as political corruption. Yet Marzel quickly seized the opportunity to note that his "blood is no less red than Omri's." If the court were to accede to Omri Sharon's incredible request, Marzel, doubtless, would not be the last to attempt to emulate it.

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