Former PM Ehud Olmert Requests Early Prison Release

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday submitted a request for an early release from Ma’asiyahu Prison, where he has been serving an 18-month prison term since February.

A hearing of the request to commute one-third of his sentence, which was submitted by attorneys Eli Zohar and Shani Illouz, was scheduled for December 25.

Olmert had his first 48-hour furlough since he entered prison last month. Shortly before that it was revealed that he has been visited by nearly 40 lawyers, as well as by Zionist Union Knesset members Amir Peretz and Yoel Hasson, since he began serving his sentence.

MKs are entitled to enter prisons to oversee activity and deal with prisoners’ complaints.

The Israel Prison Service has recently issued new orders that criminal lawyers say will make it harder for prisoners and their attorneys to hold work meetings, which prisoners are entitled to by law.

Under the new regulations, which went into effect Thursday, lawyers cannot meet with clients for more than two hours at a time; if they haven’t finished their business, the attorney must wait another two hours before resuming the meeting.

The new regulations also state that if the prisoner is not actually preparing for a court hearing, his attorney must inform the prison service at least a day in advance before coming to meet with him.

Attorney are furious with Israel Prison Service Commissioner Ofra Klinger, who they say is using Olmert’s exploitation of his privileges as an excuse to restrict them and make the legal process difficult for prisoners.

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