Israel's ex-PM Ehud Olmert freed from prison

Ramla who was freed from prison after being granted parole in a corruption case that reduced his sentence by a third. Jack Guez  AFP
Israeli Ex-Prime Minister Olmert Released After 16 Months in Jail

02 July, 2017

"He left the prison almost 30 minutes ago", Assaf Librati said.

Olmert headed the Israeli government between 2006 and 2008 and has become the first Israeli Prime Minister sentenced to a real prison term.

Mr Librati added that President Reuven Rivlin could relieve him of the parole restrictions.

The parole board last week granted the Olmert, 71, early release from his 27-month sentence.

Olmert was sent to prison in 2016 after being convicted of bribery and obstruction of justice from his tenure as trade minister.

His imprisonment ended the last major Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and ushered in the era of Benjamin Netanyahu in 2009.

Olmert was a long-time fixture in Israel's hawkish right wing when he began taking a dramatically more conciliatory line towards the Palestinians.

He was forced to demit the office of prime minister after only three years, when the series of charges were levied against him by the authorities. He resigned amid a corruption scandal that clouded his administration.

He led his government to the Annapolis peace conference in November 2007 - launching more than a year of ambitious, but ultimately unsuccessful US -brokered talks.

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

Though released, the former PM is not in the clear, as he is now being investigated on suspicion of smuggling a chapter of a book he was writing from prison.

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