Nahum Manbar was released from prison Monday after the Hasharon Prison parole board approved his early release. Manbar was convicted in 1997 of selling weapons to Iran and aiding in its war against Israel. Manbar has served 14.5 years of his 16 year sentence.
As he left the prison Manbar told reporters he was happy to go free. His brother Tzi said Manbar could have been released years ago. "No doubt he could have been released after he had served two thirds of his sentence," he said. "We believe that personal motives or some sort of vindictiveness prevented his release."
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Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein presented the State's stance to the parole board and said that contrary to its previous stance, it would no longer be opposed to Manbar's release.
The parole board was presented with an agreement signed between Manbar's proxy and the State prosecution and approved by the attorney general. At the end of the meeting the parole board approved the agreement and Manbar's release was set for later on Monday.
Manbar leaves Hasharon Prison Monday (Photo: Amir Levy)
Manbar was captured in France in 1997 and was convicted by an Israeli court for collaboration with the enemy in its war against Israel and providing information to the enemy with intent to harm state security.
Manbar's attorney, Avi Richtman told Ynet that Manbar was very happy with the decision that would set him free. "We were together at the hearing and now he's beginning the release process at the Hasharon Prison. In the next few hours he will leave the prison walls."
Manbar affair coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth in 1998 (Photo: Oren Agmon)
Manbar sought early release for good behavior from the parole board four and a half years ago when he finished serving two thirds of his sentence.
The State did not disagree with Manbar's good behavior claim but was opposed to his early release due to the severity of his crimes. Security sources opposed his early release and the parole board accepted the State's position and decided to refuse Manbar's request. An appeal filed before the district court was also rejected.
No longer threat
Manbar renewed his request for early release a year later but the State was once again opposed to commuting his sentence. The parole board and the district court ruled that he would remain behind bars. The parole board announced that it would review Manbar's case if he agreed to undergo major treatment in prison.
Manbar at hearing two years ago (Photo: Yaron Brener)
The Justice Ministry explained the decision to allow Manbar's early release, stating that it was made after security officials ruled that he was no longer a danger to the public. According to the ministry, after Manbar underwent the required rehabilitation process, the parole board chose to review his case and approved his release on probation.
The ministry also noted that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled that the State would not be opposed to Manbar's early release considering the relatively short term still remaining on his sentence, the many opinions stating he was no longer a danger and in light of Manbar's agreement to accept restrictions for a fixed period of time in addition to his probation.
The restrictions include a hold departure order, ban on contacting foreign citizens, ban on giving interviews in the media and ban on any occupation connected with the arms trade.
Aviad Glickman contributed to the report
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