Israel’s president denies pardon to former prime minister Ehud Olmert

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin rejected a pardon request from former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is currently serving a 27-month prison sentence for corruption.

Rivlin officially rejected the request on Monday. The request was filed in late January.  Olmert entered prison, continuing to proclaim his innocence, in February 2016.

“The pardoning power of the President of the State is not an appeals court, and therefore, as stated, there is no room to grant an amnesty request by way of immediate release from prison,” Rivlin said in his decision.

He noted that Olmert can face the parole board after serving two-thirds of his sentence, and said that if he is released then he will lift restrictions on Olmert such as traveling outside of the country, Walla reported.

Earlier this month Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked requested Olmert’s release, though her ministry was against such a course of action, according to reports.

Olmert is the first Israeli prime minister to serve time in prison and be sentenced to jail. He resigned his post in September 2008 after police investigators recommended that he be indicted in multiple corruption scandals.