Former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years behind bars on Tuesday. The judge who sentenced Olmert likened the former prime minister to a traitor. Olmert was found guilty of accepting bribes while he was the Jerusalem mayor. The bribes involved the construction of a high-end housing development.
On Tuesday, Olmert vowed to make an appeal of his conviction that was handed down in March. He would be the highest-ranking Israeli official to serve time behind bars.
The sentence matched what prosecutors had requested, while lawyers for Olmert asked that he only be required to carry out community service.
The Judge said the Olmert and the nine business figures and government officials convicted with him all had harmed the public’s trust and that Olmert deserved a stiff sentence since he is a clever man and public figure.
The judge said the cancer needed to be uprooted referring to the political corruption. One columnist in Israel said the presiding judge was indicting the entire class of Israel’s political and financial elite.
In a court drama that many analysts in Israel said had vindicated the prosecution who has been criticized for being expensive and overzealous in its campaigns to rid corruption, Olmert was convicted six weeks after a years’ long, sweeping investigation into the process of planning surrounding the apartment complex known by the name Holyland located in southern Jerusalem.
In 2010, a judge called the case one of the worst affairs of corruption in the history of Israel.
Olmert was the prime minister between 2006 and 2009. The 68-year old released a prepared statement prior to the court session on Tuesday that said it was a sad day where an innocent man was receiving an unjust and severe verdict.
Olmert said in his sentencing hearing in April that he never had asked for or received any bribes, neither indirectly nor directly for either himself, his family or his associates.
Olmert was the mayor of Jerusalem between 1993 and 2003. He said he wanted to appeal his conviction to the Supreme Court.
Olmert was also ordered by the Judge on Tuesday to make a payment of a fine and restitution in the amount of $300,000.