Israel prosecution seeks community service for Olmert

AFP , Wednesday 5 Sep 2012

Former Israeli Prime Minister could face six month community service for graft charges, seven-year ban from public office waived

Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded Israeli ex-premier Ehud Olmert do six months of community service for graft while waiving a requirement that he be barred from public office, an official said.

The prosecution made the request during deliberations for sentencing in the Jerusalem District Court, according to the judicial official. It is unclear when the sentence will be issued.

On 10 July, the court had found Olmert guilty of one charge in a closely watched corruption case, but cleared him on two other charges, in a verdict he himself declared was just.

The conviction for "breach of trust" over favours Olmert granted a colleague during his time as a minister could have seen him face a jail term of up to three years.

Explaining why they had decided to drop a request to ban him from public office for seven years, Deputy State Prosecutor Eli Abarbanel said: "You cannot ignore the fact that Olmert was acquitted of many of the charges against him."

"We cannot ignore his contribution to the sate of Israel in his 30-year political career," he was quoted as saying by Israeli media.

Olmert's lawyers had sought to have the ban dropped in exchange for him renouncing privileges due him as a former premier, which include having a secretary, an office and a car.

A former leader of the centre-right Kadima party, Olmert resigned from the premiership in September 2008 after police recommended he be indicted in several graft cases. He effectively left power in March 2009.

He still faces a second trial over allegations he accepted bribes during his time as Jerusalem mayor to pave the way for the construction of the city's massive Holyland residential complex.


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