Is­rael jails a for­mer PM

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

EHUD OLMERT is due to en­ter Maasiyahu prison on Fe­bru­ary 15 af­ter the Supreme Court up­held one of his con­vic­tions for bribe-tak­ing on Tues­day in Jerusalem.

His orig­i­nal sen­tence of six years was re­duced to 18 months af­ter a pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion by the Tel Aviv Dis­trict Court was ruled out. The Supreme Court ac­cepted that there was not enough ev­i­dence to show that he had so­licited a sec­ond bribe “be­yond rea­son­able doubt”.

The ver­dict of the five Supreme Court judges on the ap­peals of Mr Olmert and seven other de­fen­dants brought to an end the long saga of the “Holy­land case”.

In the af­fair, for­mer se­nior of­fi­cials in Jerusalem City Hall and Is­raeli busi­ness­men were ac­cused of mul­ti­ple counts of cor­rup­tion over their al­lo­ca­tion of build­ing per­mits for the Holy­land build­ing com­plex in Jerusalem.

Only one of the other seven ac­cused, businessman Avig­dor Kell­ner, had all his con­vic­tions over­turned.

The court up­held the con­vic­tions of Uri Lupo­lian­ski, who suc­ceeded Mr Olmert as mayor of Jerusalem in 2003, but com­muted his six-year jail sen­tence to six months of com­mu­nity ser­vice due to his med­i­cal con­di­tion. Mr Lupo­lian­ski was found guilty of ac­cept­ing bribes in the shape of do­na­tions to the Yad Sarah char­ity — which he founded — in re­turn for build­ing per­mits.

The rest will serve prison terms rang­ing from 18 months to seven years.

A spe­cial wing at Maasiyahu prison is be­ing pre­pared for Mr Olmert and other pris­on­ers who, due to their for­mer prom­i­nent po­si­tions and the clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion to which they were ex­posed, are in need of spe­cial pro­tec­tion.

For the first time in Is­rael’s history, both a prime min­is­ter and a for­mer pres­i­dent will be serv­ing time in prison. In an­other wing of Maasiyahu, ex-pres­i­dent Moshe Katzav is in­car­cer­ated for rape and sex­ual as­sault.

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