Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Yedioth Books demand police return information unrelated to Olmert book
The publishing house petitions the court asking for return of seized materials that are unrelated to the investigation into Olmert's possible use of classified information for his book; lawyers say this is a precedent-setting case when it comes to seizing journalistic materials.
A petition filed by Yedioth Ahronoth Sunday to the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court is shedding light on the investigation into former prime minister Ehud Olmert for using classified information in a book he is writing.



When police raided the offices of Yedioth Books to confiscate files related to the book, they also seized unrelated material. However, police are unable to read and examine any of the material seized due to a technical problem with the files themselves.


As a result of the seizure of unrelated materials, Yedioth Books has asked the court to either cancel or amend the seizure order. In addition to demanding the return of unrelated material, the publishing house is also demanding that until such a time, police secure the material so that no one may see or copy it.


Olmert (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg) (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Olmert (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


"The seizure of any other material (not relevant to Olmert's case) is disproportionate and inappropriate in a democratic country," said Yedioth's lawyers. The petition also claims the police's International Criminal Investigation Unit (ICIU) seriously violated the basic principles of freedom of expression, noting this was a precedent-setting case for the seizure of journalistic materials.


The petition also states that on June 14, Judge Oded Moreno acquiesced to a police request to issue a search warrant for "any material, whether hard documents or digital media, related to Ehud Olmert's book." The reason for the request was the suspicion the former prime minister disclosed classified information in his book.


The next day, police raided the offices of Yedioth Books and confiscated computer files, including copies of the book. In addition, materials unrelated to Olmert's book were copied from the computers of Yedioth Books' CEO and editor-in-chief in a manner not approved by the court, the petition claims.


On the day of the raid, lawyers for Yedioth Books asked police to destroy materials unrelated to the search warrant. Police ignored the request and only after a letter was sent to State Attorney Shai Nitzan did police invite the publishing house's lawyers to witness them destroy irrelevant materials taken during the search.


Copy of the search warrant
Copy of the search warrant


After hours of waiting at the ICIU's office, police representatives informed lawyers that due to a technical malfunction, the files could not be viewed or used. Before lawyers left the offices, police informed them the digital files were destroyed.


As a result, police representatives asked to return to the publishing houses' offices in order to recopy files included in the purview of the warrant, i.e., only those related to Olmert's book. Simultaneously, lawyers representing Yedioth Books requested police return all copies and "hard" documents that were taken.


On Sunday afternoon, police investigators returned to the Yedioth Books offices with boxes of hard documents that were taken in the previous search. Representatives of the publishing house made it clear to police that "due to the principle of freedom of expression, all the hard and digital materials must be reviewed and filtered out, leaving only those materials which arouse suspicions of being classified information."


Despite that, police refused to narrow the warrant's focus for materials in their possession. Meaning, police now have materials from Olmert's book that have nothing to do with allegations of secret information, such as a chapter on Olmert's tenure as mayor of Jerusalem, a chapter on familial relations within the Olmert family, a chapter on the criminal case against him and criticism of the prosecution. All these materials are of a journalistic value, the petition argues.




פרסום ראשון: 06.20.17, 22:22
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