Former Jerusalem Mayor’s Bribe Sentence Delayed Due to Hospitalization

Prosecution says will insist Uri Lupolianski, convicted of accepting over 2 million shekels in bribes in Holyland case, will serve sentence despite medical condition.

Ido Erez

The sentencing of former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, who was convicted of accepting over 2 million shekels (about $570,000) in bribes in the Holyland corruption case, was postponed to next Thursday after he was hospitalized on Monday. Despite efforts to reach an agreement between his lawyers and the prosecution on a sentence, the State Prosecutor’s Office said it will insist Lupolianski serve prison time despite his medical condition.

There are a number of prisoners who suffer from similar medical conditions as Lupolianski’s, and based on a medical opinion he can serve his time in prison.

The former mayor’s lawyers asked Judge David Rozen of the Tel Aviv District Court to sentence him on Monday as scheduled — even though Lupolianski was not present in the courtroom; but the prosecution objected and Rozen postponed the sentencing.

The prosecution had asked the judge for a minimum sentence of six years for Lupolianski at the sentencing hearing at the end of April. The prosecution said at the time it took into account Lupolianski’s long service to the city and the condition of his health in its request. Rozen said at the sentencing hearing that there was room to be somewhat more lenient with Lupolianski than what the state asked for since he did not take any of the money for himself, but gave it to a charitable institution he had founded, Yad Sarah, and because of his medical condition.

Lupolianski’s lawyers said any prison time would endanger him, but the judge said the medical opinion presented to the court said otherwise.

Former city council member Avraham Feiner, who was convicted of accepting a 680,000 shekel bribe, will serve six months of community service work of six hours a day because of his severe medical condition. He will do the work at Hadassah Hospital on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, starting August 6. He was also fined 250,000 shekels, a quarter of the amount the prosecution asked for.

Rozen said that if not for Feiner’s serious medical condition, he would have been sentenced to at least five years in prison. In addition, Rozen said that because the lenient sentence was agreed upon as part of a plea deal between Feiner and the prosecution, the sentence in no way serves as a precedent.

The prosecution and Feiner’s lawyers reached the compromise — instead of the three- or four-year prison sentence he would have been expected to serve — at the advice of Rozen, who hinted at the sentencing hearing that he would view community service as sufficient punishment. Feiner has also expressed his regret for his actions and said he acted in city hall to promote the Holyland construction project without understanding the significance of his actions.

Feiner, who has a 98.5 percent disability and uses a wheelchair, said even this punishment would be difficult for him, but he would fulfill the sentence.