Prison Service: Limit Visits to Prisoners Because of Olmert Abuse

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (C) waits before entering the courtroom at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court February 10, 2016. An Israeli court on Wednesday tagged a month onto former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's 18-month prison sentence for bribery after rejecting a plea bargain over an obstruction of justice charge. REUTERS/Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (C) waits before entering the courtroom at the Yerushalayim Magistrate’s Court, February 10. (Reuters/Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool)

The Prisons Service has decided to limit the number of visits attorneys can pay to prisoners, in the wake of what officials called the abuse of the system by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In prison for three and a half months so far, Olmert has been visited by attorneys 37 times. Prison officials said that in most cases the purpose of the visits were not to consult with Olmert on his case, but just to pay a friendly visit.

The new regulations limit prisoners to three weekly visits from their attorneys. Visits will be limited to 45 minutes.

Channel Ten reported on Thursday that Olmert had been visited by a large number of people who claimed to be “his attorneys,” as well as other individuals, including former MK Chaim Ramon, who apparently renewed his attorney’s license just to visit Olmert.

According to the rules that had been in place until now, prisoners could have their attorneys visit anytime they wanted for as long as they wanted. Also allowed to visit are first-degree family members. Officials said that Olmert followed proper procedure and declared that he was receiving visits from attorneys to discuss his case. However, the officials said, most of the visits had nothing to do with legal matters, but were just friendly visits by acquaintances who were lawyers.

Senior Service officials said that Olmert had “cynically used the system to create an unfair situation between himself and other prisoners.”