Benizri asks court to postpone imprisonment

Shas chairman Eli Yishai writes to Peres, pleading with him to pardon the former minister.

Former cabinet minister and Shas MK Shlomo Benizri on Sunday asked the Supreme Court to postpone his imprisonment, originally set for September 1, until October 18. In his request, Benizri wrote that he wants to complete medical examinations before he starts serving his jail time, and asked to be able to spend the High Holidays with his family. Benizri has been sentenced to four years in prison for accepting a bribe, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of justice. In June, the Supreme Court increased Benizri's jail sentence from 18 months to four years. Among the offenses for which Benizri was convicted was that he accepted various monetary favors from manpower contractor Moshe Sela and in return intervened on Sela's behalf in government decisions. Meanwhile, Shas chairman Eli Yishai has asked President Shimon Peres to pardon the former minister. In a letter to the president, Yishai cited what he said was Benizri's high level of public service, and said his punishment was far too severe. "As a public servant, as a member the Sephardi community and as deputy prime minister, I believe that there is nothing more justified than this request," he wrote.