Peres advisor: 'No chance' of a pardon for former Shas MK
President's legal advisor says pardon won't happen since Benizri 'hasn't even entered jail yet.'
There is no chance whatsoever that President Shimon Peres will pardon former minister Shlomo Benizri, Peres' legal advisor, Moshe Shalit, told Haaretz on Monday.
On Sunday, Interior Minister and Shas party chairman Eli Yishai had written to Peres to urge him to pardon Benizri, who formerly represented Shas in the Knesset. Yishai urged the president to annul Benizri's four-year prison sentence for corruption offenses, saying it was excessively severe.
He added that he decided to back Benizri's pardon application after "I reached the conclusion that no application is more justified than this one."
Shalit, who served as Peres' personal attorney for decades, said he is not serving as Peres' legal advisor on this particular case.
However, he noted, the two men have "known each other for 70 years already, and I am considered his oldest friend."
Based on this knowledge, he asserted, Peres will "definitely not" pardon Benizri.
"The president can pardon anybody he wants to, including out of mercy," Shalit said.
"But it seems to me that no president would do this - at least not as long as he [Benizri] hasn't even entered jail yet."