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Ehud Olmert, Israel’s jailed ex-PM, is released early

The parole board decided that Olmert’s rehabilitation program, designed by the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority, is to remain confidential.Leaving prison for his home in Tel Aviv dressed in a black tee shirt and black pants, Olmert looked gaunt, 12 days after being treated in hospital for what Israeli media reported were chest pains.Olmert, the country’s first former premier to serve jail time, did not speak to reporters when leaving the Maasiyahu prison in central Israel.But in 2008, he was forced to resign to fight off a burgeoning corruption case, leading to the election of the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the following year.He was granted early release by a parole board last week, shaving about a third off his sentence.He is however now being investigated by the state attorney’s office over suspicions he smuggled a chapter of a book he is writing out of prison, raising fears that it might compromise national security. In Olmert’s case, these restrictions are now set to remain in place until May 2018.His original six-year sentence – the judge in the case said his corruption offences were tantamount to “treason” – was cut to 18 months on appeal, but another month was later tagged on over obstruction of justice charges.He can request a pardon from President Reuven Rivlin that would lift the restrictions.A few hours after his release, a somber-looking Olmert, accompanied by a bodyguard, was seen walking around a shopping mall in Tel Aviv.In September 2016, he was sentenced to an additional eight months behind bars for the so-called Talansky affair, bringing the total to 27. The charges dated back to his stint as mayor of Jerusalem between 1993 and 2003.The prosecution had previously said the book Olmert is writing contains “sensitive security issues” and that his lawyer was caught leaving the prison with a chapter on “secret operations” not approved by the censor for publication. Olmert had recently been hospitalized after complaining of chest pains.Olmert has denied doing anything wrong.