Former Israeli president found guilty of rape
The court in Tel Aviv on Dec. 30 found former Israeli President Moshe Katsav guilty rape and other sex crimes and it could send him to jail for years, in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a sad day for the Jewish state.
The judge noted that the testimony of the victim and the accused in conflict, but her words are confirmed by the testimony of witnesses and physical evidence, and the former president has no alibi or any serious arguments in his favor. Katsav had denied the charges of twice raping an aide when he served as a cabinet minister in the late 1990s, and of molesting or sexually harassing two other women who worked for him during his 2000-2007 term as president.
Protests from Katsav, who said that between him and the subject was a romantic relationship, and complained of biased coverage of the media, the court rejected.
Thus, the judge endorsed the position “A”, which previously stated that the former president – “serial rapist and sex maniac” who terrorized her body and soul and turned into sex slaves.
Previously reported that because of the scandal around the amorous adventures Katsav was forced to leave the post of president of Israel and say goodbye to the continuation of a political career.
Punishment for the former head of the state court has not yet appointed. The trial, which began in 2009, still continues: More women accused Katsav of sexual harassment.
(Reuters) – “Today the court conveyed two clear-cut messages, that all are equal before the law and that every woman has exclusive rights to her body,” Netanyahu said.
The 65-year-old Katsav had no comment for reporters as, ashen-faced, he was spirited out of Tel Aviv District Court by a scrum of relatives, attorneys and bodyguards. One of his lawyers declined to say whether Katsav would appeal to the Supreme Court against the unanimous verdict or any prison time that follows.
Rape carries a minimum prison term of four years and a maximum of 16 years in Israel. Moshe Negbi, legal analyst for Israel Radio, told Reuters any sentences handed down to Katsav for the lesser charges would probably be served concurrently.
Though the scandal had forced Katsav’s early retirement in disgrace, it had little impact on Israeli government functions, as the presidency is largely ceremonial.
But the allegations against the Iranian-born leader, whose rise from the slums once served as a shining example for disadvantaged Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, stirred deep emotions in Israel, where the elite has traditionally been of European descent.
The head of state is supposed to be a beacon of morality and national unity for a country often riven by drift and division.
The verdict was dubbed an “earthquake” by one Israeli newspaper and welcomed by women’s groups that have long complained of lax attitudes to sexual harassment in workplaces.
Katsav, who is religiously observant, had cast himself as the victim of extortion and an ethnically-motivated “witch hunt.” Relatives said he would campaign to clear his name.
“This trial, where the judges rule according to their feelings, is not in keeping the ethics of Israel,” Katsav’s son Boaz told reporters.