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02 July 2017

Ehud Olmert, Israel’s jailed ex-PM, is released early

 

Olmert is releasedImage copyright
Reuters
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Olmert was released after the parole board cut his sentence by a third

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been released from prison on parole after serving two-thirds of a 27-month sentence for fraud.

He was jailed in 2016 after being convicted of bribery and obstruction of justice while a trade minister.

Olmert was the first former Israeli head of government to be jailed.

He became prime minister in 2006 but resigned three years later when police recommended a series of charges against him.

The 71-year-old did not speak to reporters as he left Maasiyahu prison in central Israel.

Earlier, the Israeli parole board said Olmert had undergone a “significant rehabilitation process” in prison and his behaviour had been largely “impeccable”.

He is however currently being investigated by the state attorney’s office over suspicions he smuggled a chapter of a book he is writing out of prison, raising fears that it might compromise national security.

There had been calls for leniency after a leaked picture of him in a hospital gown looking gaunt circulated on social media last week.

He had been taken to hospital complaining of chest pains but was given the all-clear and returned to prison.

In 2014, Olmert was convicted of bribery in connection with a property development dating to his period as mayor of Jerusalem between 1993 and 2003.

He was also convicted of fraud, breach of trust and obstructing justice when a trade minister, in a series of separate trials, and acquitted of other charges.

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