Katzav - Alon Ron
Former President Moshe Katsav Photo by Alon Ron
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Former President Moshe Katsav's lawyers requested a scheduled Supreme Court hearing would be postponed over their family holidays on Thursday, after the court had already decided in an unusual move to discuss Katsav's case during its summer recess.

The former president was convicted in December of two counts of rape against the complainant publicly identified as A. from the Tourism Ministry, and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

He was supposed to have begun his sentence on the eight of May, but was allowed to remain free after the Supreme Court accepted his request to stay out of jail pending the outcome of his appeal.

However, Katsav's lawyers requested that the appeal hearing scheduled for August of this year would be postponed as well, as a result of a planned family holiday, saying that postponing the vacation could cause the lawyers emotional distress.

In an unusual move, the Supreme Court had already agreed to discuss the former president's appeal during what would have been its summer recess, requesting that both defense counselors and prosecution representatives make themselves available at specific dates.

Court officials estimated that the chances the Supreme Court would grant Katsav lawyers' request were low, seeing that the court had greed to grant his earlier request to delay the fulfillment of his jail sentence until after his appeal.

On Monday, the panel of judges who will hear the appeal of former president Moshe Katsav's rape conviction was announced, with Justices Miriam Naor, Salim Joubran, and Edna Arbel expected to preside over the August session.

At the appeal hearing earlier this week, Katsav's attorney Avigdor Feldman said at the start of the hearing that there was no concern that his client would evade justice if his prison term was delayed, and added that he did not pose a threat to society.

Feldman also said that the court should take into account special circumstances, such as the fact that Katsaz is a former president, adding that the court should avoid the possible occurrence in which Katsav will enter the prison as a former president, and will be equated of the charges shortly after.