President Reuven Rivlin decided on Monday to ease the conditions for former prime minister and convicted felon Ehud Olmert’s early release from prison, removing some of the restrictions imposed on him.
According to a statement from the President’s Office, Rivlin decided to set the parole to match the period of Olmert’s imprisonment. Since the ex-premier was released from prison on parole on Sunday the restrictions he was subjected to under the early release are now lifted.
Olmert is now able to travel abroad and will not have to present himsef at a police station twice a month or attend weekly meetings with a social worker.
However, Olmert will still have to carry out two restrictions for the remainder of his sentence, which are still confidential under the parole board’s decision, the President’s Office stated.
The former prime minister was released early Sunday morning after spending 16 months of a 27-month sentence behind bars for a series of corruption convictions that included fraud, bribery and obstruction of justice. The day of his release Olmert sent a request to Rivlin to lift his parole restrictions.
His sentence was shortened by one third (9 months) in a surprising decision by the parole board on Thursday, despite a new probe into alleged leaking of classified documents by the former premier. It was initially reported that the state prosecution would appeal the decision, but it declined to do so, allowing Olmert to end his prison term earlier than expected.
A lawyer by training, Olmert began his political career in the 1970s as a rightwing Likud lawmaker who targeted organized crime. As prime minister, Olmert waged war against Hezbollah in the Second Lebanon War in July and August 2006, and against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 and January 2009.
The ex-prime minister was sentenced for crimes in three matters: The Holyland real estate corruption affair during his term as Jerusalem mayor (1993-2003); illegally receiving envelopes of cash from New York businessman Morris Talansky from 1993 to 2002; and seeking to obstruct the testimony of his former longtime bureau chief Shula Zaken.
In its ruling on Thursday, the six-member parole board panel said Olmert’s behavior in prison had been “impeccable,” except for one case in which he said something inappropriate to a guard, for which he was punished.
Olmert wrote a more than 1,000-page memoir while in prison, sparking a new probe in May over suspicions the former premier leaked classified documents during the course of writing the book.
The parole board added in its decision that the Prisons Service was fully aware that Olmert was writing a book; that hundreds of pages of the manuscript were transferred to and from prison beginning in November 2016; and that the Prisons Service did not try to prevent such transfers until mid-May.
“The prison authorities could have stopped the movement of the materials from the prison if they wanted,” the decision said, adding that Olmert should not be held solely responsible for a failure of enforcement.
In March, President Reuven Rivlin denied Olmert’s request for clemency, but said if Olmert was released on parole, he would “consider favorably” a request to lift the restrictive conditions.
Reuters contributed to this report