Olmert due to speak in Kazakhstan

Israeli group furious over lecture scheduled 4 days after former PM's hearing was deferred over illness.

olmert 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
olmert 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who recently convinced the High Court of Justice to defer an April 19 pre-indictment hearing before Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz for medical reasons, is scheduled to speak at an international media forum in Kazakhstan on April 23. Olmert flew to the US on Monday for treatment of his prostate cancer. Sources close to the former prime minister confirmed on Monday that he had been invited to attend the conference and had not declined. The Movement for Quality Government said that if Olmert indeed made the trip to Kazakhstan, the group would demand that the attorney-general investigate whether the former prime minister had filed a false brief to the High Court. Olmert's name appears on the official draft agenda of the Eurasian Media Forum, scheduled to take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on April 23 and 24. He is due to speak at a panel on "Media Management in Gaza." So far, his plans have not changed, but aides said that his attendance would depend on the outcome of his medical consultations. "It is only natural that as a past prime minister, Olmert's bureau receives a long list of invitations to various events," said the source, who declined to be named. "The decision whether or not to attend will be made, among other considerations, in accordance with the results of the examinations in the US and the opinions of the doctors there." Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen said the State Attorney's Office had not known about Olmert's planned trip until informed of it by The Jerusalem Post. Last week, High Court Justice Miriam Na'or partially accepted Olmert's request for an interim injunction to postpone the hearing on the Rishon Tours affair, originally scheduled for April 19, on the grounds that he had to go to the US for medical treatment. Na'or ruled that the hearing would not take place until at least May 10. In the main part of Olmert's petition, he petitioned the court to order the state to grant him a single hearing in which all of the affairs for which he stood to be indicted would be discussed at the same time, and only after all the investigations against him had been concluded. The police are still investigating suspicions that Olmert made political appointments in the Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses Authority. He petitioned the court after Mazuz rejected his requests on the grounds that the former prime minister had already asked for, and received, three postponements of scheduled hearing dates on the Rishon Tours affair. Eliad Shraga, the chairman of the Movement for Quality Government, told the Post that if Olmert did go to Kazakhstan as scheduled, "he might have been lying to the High Court of Justice when he said he did not have time for the hearing scheduled on April 19. It is a crime to lie to the court. If we find that Olmert is traveling around Kazakhstan, we will call on the attorney-general to investigate whether or not he filed a false brief to the High Court of Justice."~