Prosecutors urge six-year sentence for Olmert

The former Israeli prime minister was convicted on bribery and corruption charges last month.

    The charges against Ehud Olmert carry a maximum of seven years in prison [Reuters]
    The charges against Ehud Olmert carry a maximum of seven years in prison [Reuters]

    Tel Aviv, Israel - Prosecutors have asked an Israeli judge to sentence former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to at least six years in prison for bribery and corruption.

    The prosecutor, Yonatan Tadmor, on Monday delivered a scathing statement at the district court in Tel Aviv, warning that the corruption for which Olmert was convicted last month would bring about "the disintegration of the fabric of life."

    "This case is exceptionally severe," he told Judge David Rozen. "The punishment in this case must reverberate, to fit the severity of the actions, to warn and discourage others."

    The state also asked for fines of about 1.3 million Israeli shekels ($380,000).

    The charges against Olmert carry a maximum of seven years in prison. He was convicted on two separate counts of corruption, but at least part of the sentences will overlap.

    The ex-prime minister had been expected to bring several character witnesses to testify for him, including Meir Dagan, a former head of Mossad, the Israeli spy agency. But he apparently dropped that plan: No-one appeared on his behalf, though he did submit "letters of recognition" to the court. He sat emotionless through much of the hearing.

    Olmert's media advisor, Amir Dan, noted afterwards: "The request of the prosecutors is extreme and completely unrealistic, and does not stand up to precedent of any court rulings from the past 10 years."

    Olmert was convicted of bribery last month on charges dating back to his time as mayor of Jerusalem. The court found him and several associates guilty of taking more than $200,000 in bribes in connection with the Holyland development, a massive residential complex that many residents consider an eyesore. He was also convicted of perjury for lying to the court.

    Olmert ran the city for 10 years, from 1993 to 2003, before going on to serve in the cabinet, and then as prime minister from 2006 to 2009.

    The state’s attorney announced on Sunday that it will reopen investigations into two other corruption cases which Olmert was cleared of in 2012. Prosecutors are appealing both acquittals, and will ask the court for permission to present new evidence obtained from a former aide, Shula Zaken, who accepted a plea deal just days after Olmert’s conviction in the Holyland case.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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