Ex-President Katsav Denied Furlough for Passover Seder

Regulations bar former president convicted of rape from going on vacation so soon after his last furlough, says prison service.

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Former President Moshe Katzav leaving Maasiyahu prison. September 9, 2013.
Former President Moshe Katzav leaving Maasiyahu prison. September 9, 2013.Credit: Moti Milrod
Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

Court on Tuesday rejected a petition filed by former President Moshe Katsav, who was convicted of rape, requesting prison furlough for the Passover holiday.

The Israel Prison Service, who objected to Katzav's furlough, explained it stemmed from the fact that less than 60 days had passed since his last furlough, and that releasing him would be counter to regulations, which stipulate that prisoners may go on furlough only once every two months.

Tel Aviv District Court President Avraham Tal explained that his ruling, stating that Katsav was aware of the regulations, but decided to take furlough for Purim on March 16.

"He has no one to blame but himself," wrote Tal. Katsav also cited "other special circumstances" on his furlough request, but according to an Israel Prison Service official, "we did not find any sufficient circumstances, and decided that allowing Katsav furlough would be against principles of equality, especially for other Jewish prisoners."

Tal accepted the Israel Prison Service's position, and wrote in his decision that "his circumstances are no different from any other Jewish prisoner's, especially those as religious, who meet all criteria to leave on furlough for Passover, aside from the time elapsed since previous vacation, whose requests were also turned down for sufficient reasons. Allowing the petitioner furlough for 'other special circumstances' would harm the principles of equality that the Israel Prison Service abides by."

In 2010, Katsav was found guilty of two counts of rape, bringing an end to an affair that cast a shadow over Israeli politics for four and a half years. The Tel Aviv District Court at the time said that Katsav’s defense was “riddled with lies.”

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