Israel jails a former PM
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.