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Israel: Moshe Katsav rape sentence upheld

Publish Date: 10 Nov 2011
Source: The Guardian
By: Reuters in Jerusalem

Ex-Israeli president convicted of raping one woman and molesting two others loses appeal against seven-year jail term


Israel's supreme court upheld a conviction for rape against the country's former president Moshe Katsav. Photo: The Guardian. For videoclip, click here.

Israel's supreme court has upheld a seven-year jail term against former Israeli president Moshe Katsav for raping a former aide and molesting two other women who worked for him.

In a unanimous ruling against Katsav's appeal, the three-judge panel said: "He misused his high position and defiled the bodies and dignity of [his accusers]." He will begin serving his sentence on 7 December.

Katsav, 65, was president from 2000 to 2007. He was convicted in December of twice raping an aide when he was a cabinet minister in the late 1990s and sexually assaulting two other women who worked for him while he was president.

"The ruling of the supreme court reaffirms that everybody in Israel is equal before the law. Presidents and dignitaries must [also] be held to account for their actions," prosecution lawyer Naomi Granot said after the verdict.

Katsav had consistently denied the charges. The court said his version of events had been "fundamentally unreliable".

"He fell from dizzying heights to a deep abyss," it said in its ruling. "It is hard to see someone who served as an official symbol of the state going to jail.'

Parliament elected Katsav president in 2000 in a surprise victory over Shimon Peres, Israel's Nobel peace prize-winning elder statesman. Peres then succeeded Katsav as president, an appointment observers say has restored dignity to the post.

Although the scandal had forced Katsav to step down in disgrace, it had little impact on Israeli government functions, as the presidency is largely a ceremonial position.


Copyright © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited
Article (includes video clip)