US/World News

Ehud Olmert sentenced to 6 years

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison and fined 1 million shekel (approx. $290,000) on Tuesday, May 13 for his conviction on two counts of bribery in the Holyland corruption case.

In announcing the verdict in Tel Aviv District Court, Judge David Rozen said, “A public servant who accepts bribes is akin to a traitor.” In March, Olmert was found guilty of accepting bribes when he served as mayor of Jerusalem, in exchange for helping the developers of the city’s Holyland Park residential project.

Before sentencing, according to Ha’aretz, Rozen praised Olmert and his work for the public good, saying he is “an impressive, warm, and very intelligent man who knows how to convince others. He is a respectful man who made a large contribution to the country.” He then went on to harshly condemn the former prime minister’s “noxious” offenses.

President Shimon Peres, on an official visit in Norway, commented on Olmert’s sentence. “This is a legal process that takes place in democratic countries. I don’t have a role in the legal system, and it is clean from personal influences. This is a sad day for me, personally.”

Olmert, ahead of the sentencing on Tuesday morning, released a statement: “This is a sad day in which an unjust and severe sentence is expected to be handed down on an innocent man.” He vowed to appeal both the verdict and the sentence to the Supreme Court. Olmert had denied wrongdoing in the Holyland apartment complex deal, as well as other corruption allegations that forced his resignation as premier in 2008.

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