President Rivlin rejects former PM Olmert's request for clemency

Rivlin denied former prime minister Ehud Olmert's request for clemency on Monday. The latter is imprisoned due to his involvement in one of the biggest corruption scandals in Israel's history.

Ehud Olmert tapes a statement prior to his entering prison (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ehud Olmert tapes a statement prior to his entering prison
(photo credit: Courtesy)
President Reuven Rivlin has denied the clemency request of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who is currently serving a 27-month prison sentence on charges of corruption and obstruction of justice. That was despite Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked recommending in mid-March that Olmert be pardoned in recognition of what he contributed to national security.
The Justice Ministry was opposed to a pardon, but Shaked, not for the first time, disagreed with the wishes of people in her own ministry.
Olmert began serving his sentence in February of last year. In January of this year, Olmert’s lawyers wrote to Rivlin requesting a pardon on the grounds that their client had suffered enough.
A complete pardon and release from prison is rare, according to a statement released by Rivlin’s office. Despite Olmert’s fall from grace to the lowest depths, the reasons given for his request were known to the court when he was sentenced and the court nonetheless chose to incarcerate him.
The authority of the president does not exceed that of the court, especially in matters of appeals, the statement noted.
The statement also noted that by July, which is not far away, Olmert will have served two-thirds of his sentence, making him eligible for release if he satisfies the parole board that he deserves its leniency.
If the parole board agrees that after serving two-thirds of his sentence he has paid his debt to society, said Rivlin, he would be willing to reconsider Olmert’s request.
Olmert will be permitted to travel abroad and to give interviews to the media after his release, a privilege still denied to Dimona whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu.