The final appeal of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto to prevent his prison sentence from being carried out in full was refused by the courts on Monday. Rabbi Pinto, who has been convicted of corruption, had asked the courts to remand his sentence in light of his deteriorating medical condition. His prison term is set to begin one week from Tuesday.
Pinto’s lawyers attempted to garner a last minute deal similar to what former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky received when he was convicted in 2014 for corruption in the Holyland case. Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran decided that the cases were not comparable. Last month, Pinto appealed his sentence in a case which reached the Supreme Court also on the grounds of health reasons, but the court rejected the appeal stating that Pinto’s health condition was taken into consideration when the sentence was meted out.
Joubran explained his decision and said that in Lupoliansky’s case, the court felt that the prison term would greatly decrease his life expectancy and therefore the case is not comparable to that of Pinto, as he can receive proper medical care for his condition in prison.
Pinto was sentenced with one year in prison of time actually served, an extra conditional year, and a fine of one million shekels last April by the Tel Aviv District Court. During the trial he was described as a “great Rabbi who transgressed and became corrupt, and involved others in his crimes.” The judges of the District Court felt that the punishment was too lenient, even at the time.
A day after his conviction on bribery charges Pinto, who heads the Shuvu Yisrael sect, told followers that his suffering would save the Jewish people from “a difficult judgment.”
“We accept everything with love and the knowledge that the patience we have had in the past years cause a ‘sweetened judgment’ for the Jewish people, ” he wrote in a note to followers.