Katsav Tel Aviv 22.3.11 Reuters
Former President Moshe Katsav leaves Tel Aviv District Court on March 22, 2011, after he was sentenced to seven years in jail for rape. Photo by Reuters
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Former President of the State of Israel Moshe Katsav was sentenced to seven years in jail Tuesday, for after he had previously been found guilty of rape and other sexual offenses.

The court also ruled that Katsav must also serve two years of probation and pay NIS 100,000 to his rape victim, a former employee of the Tourism Ministry known as A., and to pay NIS 25,000 to L., a former employee of the President's Residence, whom he had sexually harrased and abused.

Katsav will begin serving his sentence on May 8, 2011.

In December, the Tel Aviv District Court judges, George Karra, Judith Shevach and Miriam Sokolov, handed down a unanimous verdict on Katsav's case after complaints had surfaced of sexual offenses against various subordinates during Katsav’s terms as tourism minister and president.

"On December 30, 2010, the defendant was convicted of committing serious sexual offenses against women who were subordinate to him," the judges ruled in a majority opinion.

"The crime of rape damages and destroys a person's soul… Due to the severity of the crime, the punishment must be clear and precise," the judges said.

"The defendant committed the crime and like every other person, he must bear the consequences. No man is above the law."

"The contention that seeing a former president of the country go to jail is too painful to watch is an emotional argument, but it definitely cannot be accepted as an ethical argument."

A. from the Tourism Ministry, the main complainant in the case against Katsav, expressed satisfaction at the judges' sentence.

"Even though this is not a happy day for me, I definitely feel fulfilled and satisfied with the sentence - which fits the grave acts that were outlined in the court ruling," said A..

A. added that she did not put an "extreme importance" on the sentencing, saying she cared most about the court ruling in December which showed that the court believed her and did her justice.

"I would like to return to my life, my family and my anonymity. I am happy that this sad affair is nearing its end."

The former president and Likud minister was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting A. - a former employee of the Tourism Ministry while he was minister. He was also found guilty of sexually harassing H., of sexually abusing and harassing L. from the President’s Residence and obstruction of justice.

The year-long trial took place almost entirely behind closed doors and left the public wondering whether the 65-year-old Katsav was wise to drop out of a plea bargain two years ago.

The plea deal meant Katsav would not face the most serious charges and promised him a suspended sentence at worse, but the former president decided to prove his innocence in court.