Jail term begins for former Israeli PM Olmert
Updated: 2016-02-16 09:13
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (L) enters Maasiyahu prison near Ramle, south of Tel Aviv, Israel, Feb 15, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
JERUSALEM - Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert released a video statement insisting on his innocence on Monday, before arriving at prison in a motorcade to begin a 19-month sentence for corruption.
Olmert is the first former head of government in Israel to go to prison. During his premiership from 2006 to 2009, he was internationally credited with working towards a peace accord with the Palestinians, until graft scandals forced him to step down.
"As prime minister I was charged with the highest responsibility of safeguarding Israel's citizens. Today I am the one to be locked behind bars," he said in a video released to media before he pulled up at Maasiyahu prison in central Israel in a motorcade protected by bodyguards assigned to former leaders.
"At this time, it is important for me to say once more, as I did in court and outside it, that I completely deny the bribery charges I was accused of," Olmert said in the video.
Olmert was assigned to a small wing of the prison, where he will be segregated for security reasons from the general population along with co-defendants in the real estate scandal.
Olmert was found guilty in 2014 of two bribery charges: accepting 500,000 shekels ($129,000) from developers of a Jerusalem real estate project widely regarded as one of the city's worst eyesores and 60,000 shekels ($15,500) in a separate land deal.
He was sentenced to six years in jail, but the term was cut by the Supreme Court in December to 18 months after it overturned his conviction on the first bribery charge. Last month, a lower court tagged a month on to that sentence for obstruction of justice.
A separate eight-month prison term is pending since Olmert's conviction last May in another case related to cash payments he was alleged to have received from an American businessman.
- 2016 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held in New York
- Pakistan confirms participation in Saudi-led military drills
- Jeb Bush gets a brotherly hand from George W. in S. Carolina
- Jail term begins for former Israeli PM Olmert
- Record-setting cold chills US Northeast
- Chinese, ROK officials to discuss Korean Peninsula issue
- Stars spotted at film academy exam
- Grammy Awards unrolls red carpet
- Record number of Chinese travel abroad for Spring Festival
- Future bodyguards undergo brutal training in Beijing
- Chinese Lunar New Year marked in central London
- Top 10 most difficult cities in China to get a taxi
- Sichuan opera charms British children
- Thousands of passengers stranded at Dalian airport
8 highlights about V-day Parade
Glimpses of Tibet: Plateaus, people and faith
Chinese entrepreneurs remain optimistic despite economic downfall
50th anniversary of Tibet autonomous region
Tianjin explosions: Deaths, destruction and bravery
Cinemas enjoy strong first half
Today's Top News
Will US-ASEAN meeting be good for region?
Accentuate the positive in Sino-US relations
Dangerous games on peninsula will have no winner
National Art Museum showing 400 puppets in new exhibition
Finest Chinese porcelains expected to fetch over $28 million
Monkey portraits by Chinese ink painting masters
Beijing's movie fans in for new experience
Obama to deliver final State of the Union speech
Geared to go
The place to be