Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert to be released early from prison


Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is to be released early from prison, where he is serving a 27-month sentence for corruption, reports say.

A parole board cut his term by a third, his lawyer Shani Illouz said. Olmert, jailed in February 2016, could go free on Sunday, she told Israeli radio.

Olmert is the first former Israeli head of government to be sent to prison, BBC news reports.

He became prime minister in 2006 but resigned three years later when police recommended charges against him.

The 71 year old is currently being investigated over suspicions he smuggled a chapter of a book he is writing out of prison, raising fears that it might compromise national security.

Last week, Olmert was taken to hospital after complaining of chest pains. But he was given the all-clear and returned to prison a few days later.

A leaked picture of Olmert in a hospital gown looking gaunt circulated on social media, leading to calls for leniency, including from Education Minister Naftali Bennett, BBC added.

In 2014, Olmert was convicted of bribery in connection with a property development when he was mayor of Jerusalem between 1993 and 2003.

He was also convicted of fraud, breach of trust and obstructing justice in a series of separate trials, and acquitted of other charges.