Katsav Erupts at Jail Sentence for Rape: You Let the Lie Win

Former president publicly denies his guilt as he is sentenced to seven years in jail for rape, sexual offenses; attorney hints at appeal.

Former president Moshe Katsav gave way to tears and cries of protest as he was sentenced by a court in Tel Aviv on Tuesday to seven years in prison, probation and heavy fines for rape and other charges was read out on a Tel Aviv courtroom on Tuesday.

As Judge Yehudit Shevach read out her judicial opinion, Katsav was embraced by his son, and the two began to sob. Katsav then yelled in the direction of the judges, "They are mistaken, it's all lies! The whole sentence is a mistake! Maintaining one's silence is not an admission of guilt!"

Katsav Tel Aviv 22.3.11 Reuters

The court ruled that Katsav must serve seven years in jail, two years of probation and pay NIS 100,000 to his rape victim, a former employee of the Tourism Ministry known as A., and NIS 25,000 to all other complainants in the case.

Katsav asked his son, "Has there been one example in history when defendants fought for their truth and emerged victorious? They are mistaken, and it will all be proved! You are mistaken, ma'am, you are mistaken! You have committed an injustice! The judgment is wrong! You allowed lies to emerge victorious!"

The former president continued, "The women know that they lied! They know that they lied, they are laughing at the judgment! Your honor knows that she lied!"

Katsav's attorney Zion Amir tried to calm Katsav down but Katsav continued to lash out at the judges. The Presiding Judge George Kara told Katsav that there are established channels for submitting an appeal, but Katsav continued to interrupt the proceedings.

"You did not allow me to call witnesses, your honor, you did not allow me to admit evidence! You shut me up over the course of the entire case," Katsav said. Judge Shevach did not respond to Katsav's outbursts and continued to read out her judicial decision.

As he left the courtroom, Amir called the decision "a sad day for the State of Israel." Amir continued, "The court has never made such harsh statements, from the Attorney General down to law enforcement agents."

According to Amir, "These matters should lead to an investigative committee. No judge even related to the fact that for the last four years, the legal system has quashed the defendant's rights."

Amir implied that his client would appeal the sentence handed down when, after the judges had passed sentence, he requested that the court postpone carrying out the jail sentence until a decision is made in Katsav's appeal.

"The process has lasted years, the acts occurred many years ago, it's no secret that the defense is not in agreement with the results of the judgment," Amir said. "We humbly accept the judgment of guilt, although we also dispute it."

"There was a divergence of opinion over the judgment, and in our opinion it is a large divergence of opinion," Amir added. "We are confident that the court can, and must, act on this authority."

Katsav's defense team has 45 days to officially submit an appeal of the sentence passed down Tuesday.