Convicted ex-Prime Minister Olmert Granted Early Release From Prison

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Ehud OlmertCredit: AP

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was granted early release on Thursday morning and is set to be released from prison on July 2.

The prosecution was opposed to commuting one-third of his 27-month sentence for fraud and bribery, which he started serving in February 2016. However, on Thursday evening, the state announced it would not appeal the parole board's decision.

Olmert's early release comes with a few conditions. He must undergo a rehabilitation plan while volunteering at several charities and will have to report to the police twice a month. After rejecting Olmert’s request for clemency in the past, President Reuven Rivlin said he would consider cancelling these restrictions if he would be granted early release.

The former prime minister was hospitalized last week after feeling unwell and returned to prison on Tuesday. A photo of Olmer disseminated on social media showed him wearing hospital garb and looking unwell.

The Maasiyahu Prison parole board convened 10 days ago to hear prosecutors’ objections, refusing to delay the meeting despite an active investigation into allegations that Olmert mishandled classified documents while writing his memoirs in prison.

The hearing was very long and included a presentation by prosecuting attorney Orly Ben Ari that revealed classified information from the inquiries into the possible leaks.

Sources who attended the hearing, which itself was designated “classified,” told of an emotional debate during which Olmert protested prosecutors’ portrayal of him as a traitor who undermined state security.

Prosecutors opposed his early release over suspicions that he exposed sensitive, secret information that could cause serious damage to state security while writing his book.

Lawmaker Amir Peretz, who served as deputy prime minister and defense minister in Olmert's government, lauded the decision to shorten his jail prison, adding that he hopes the prosecution respects the decision and allow Olmert to return to his family.

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