Monday 23 October 2017

Jailed ex-Israel PM Ehud Olmert taken to hospital

Ehud Olmert is appealing for early release (Debbie Hill/Pool File Photo via AP)
Ehud Olmert is appealing for early release (Debbie Hill/Pool File Photo via AP)

Israel's former prime minister Ehud Olmert, imprisoned on corruption charges, has been rushed to hospital after experiencing chest pains.

Olmert, 71, who is appealing for early release, was a longtime fixture in Israel's hawkish right wing when he dramatically took a more conciliatory line towards the Palestinians a decade ago.

Arnon Afek, of Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, said Olmert is "conscious, communicates with the doctors and undergoing medical tests".

He said Olmert arrived in the hospital complaining of chest pains but would not elaborate further, saying examinations are still ongoing.

Prison Service spokesman Assaf Librati said a doctor examined Olmert after he "didn't feel well" on Tuesday and instructed that he be taken to hospital.

Channel 10 TV reported Olmert experienced chest pain after exercising.

It said he had asked to see his personal doctor last week but was offered the prison doctor instead, which he refused.

Olmert was convicted in 2014 in a wide-ranging case that accused him of accepting bribes to promote a property project years before he became premier in 2006.

His imprisonment capped a stunning fall from grace that ended Israel's last serious round of peace efforts with the Palestinians and ushered in the era of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last week, Israel's justice ministry asked the police to investigate whether Olmert committed a "criminal offence" while behind bars.

It 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.

Police searched the publishing house of the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, but not the paper itself, over the incident.

AP

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