katsav - AFP - November 17 2011
Former President Moshe Katsav arriving at the Supreme Court last week. Photo by AFP
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Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav, who was convicted of two counts of rape and sentenced to seven years in prison, said Thursday that he is in a difficult mental state but has no thoughts of harming himself.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Katsav said he respects the Supreme Court's decision to reject his appeal of his rape conviction, but he will continue to fight for his innocence as long as he lives.

He reaffirmed that he does not intend on committing suicide, saying that those were simply rumors spread by those who wish him harm.

Katsav blamed the judicial process that led to his conviction, saying he was persecuted by the media. He also blamed various political officials that disrupted the investigation.

He also said that he has not yet considered the possibility of asking for pardon.

Expert jurists said that Katsav is unlikely to win a pardon before he goes to jail, despite his efforts and those of his associates to create a buzz in favor of one.

The sources noted that President Shimon Peres has on principle refused to pardon or commute the sentences of those guilty of grave sex crimes like rape, or to reduce the sentences of public figures convicted of any serious offense.

The president will certainly not consider pardoning sex criminals until they have served a substantial part of their sentences, confessed to their crimes and agreed to undergo rehabilitation, the sources said.

Given that Katsav has yet to start serving his sentence, and has refused to admit to the crimes he was convicted of - two counts of rape and sexual harassment of subordinates - there is little possibility that the justice minister or the president will consider his request for a pardon seriously, the experts said.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: קצב: ארור הרגע שנבחרתי לנשיאות המדינה