Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will have to serve an additional eight months in prison, the High Court decided Wednesday. The extra time is the result of a sentence that was meted out to him over bribes he was convicted of taking from American businessman Moshe Talansky. The sentence had not been imposed because of Olmert’s appeal, which was denied Wednesday.
Also denied was his request to serve that sentence concurrently with his current 19 months, meaning that he will spend a total of 27 months in prison.
In February, Olmert entered Maasiyahu prison in central Israel to begin serving his sentence, after his appeals to overturn his conviction on corruption charges. Olmert is serving time over convictions for his role in the Holyland construction project scandal, in which the court said that he had illegally approved the apartment project in the Malcha neighborhood of Yerushalayim in exchange for favors.
Before entering prison, Olmert released an audio message which was broadcast on Israeli media, in which he again proclaimed his innocence. “During my long career as a public servant I have of course made mistakes, but I do not believe that these mistakes were criminal in nature. I am paying a very high price for some of these mistakes, perhaps too high a price. It is with a heavy heart that I bear this burden. There is no man above the law.”
Olmert is serving his term in a special section, in which he is housed with five other, specially hand-picked inmates who have been vetted to ensure they cannot take advantage of Olmert in any way while he is in prison. Maasiyahu is a minimum to medium security prison, and Olmert is subject to all the regulations regarding all prisoners – searches, handcuffs when outside prison grounds as well as other restrictions.