President Reuven Rivlin on Monday denied the request of former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov to have his sentence commuted. A former legislator with Yisrael Beiteinu, Misezhnikov in December 2017, began serving a 15 months prison sentence for corruption that included abuse of the Tourism Ministry’s budget, and allocation of funds to a student body on condition that it employed his girl friend.
During his term as minister, there were media reports that Misezhnikov, while on trips abroad had frequented seedy night clubs and had gone on drunken binges which brought out the worst in his personality..
Rivlin’s reason for rejecting Misezhnikov’s appeal, was that he had been convicted of a very serious crime committed while serving as a senior elected official of the public. To lighten his sentence would be a betrayal of public confidence.
Although Rivlin and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked had reached a decision within the framework of Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations to commute the sentences of first offenders who did not commit serious crimes, Misezhnikov does not fit into that category, and therefore will have to serve at least two thirds of his sentence before he can expect any leniency, providing he is well behaved while incarcerated.