Text size

Former president Moshe Katsav found himself in the accused stand Tuesday morning, as his trial for rape and other sex crimes got underway at Tel Aviv District Court.

Two prosecution witnesses were to give testimony Tuesday; "L" and "H" both worked at the president's official residence while Katsav was head of state.

Katsav is charged with the rape and sexual assault of a female aide while tourism minister, the sexual harassment of two other aides while president, and obstruction of justice. He has so far denied all charges against him.

He resigned toward the end of his term, and was replaced by Shimon Peres - the man who lost to Katsav in the July 2000 vote.

The trial will be held behind closed doors, with three hearings per week. Judges George Kara, Miriam Sokolov and Judith Shevach decided to close the trial to the public and media because they wanted to protest the complainants' privacy, as is customary in trials for sex offenses.

Meanwhile, the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel will rally outside the court to express solidarity each time a complainant in the trial arrives to deliver testimony.