After Early Release Bid Fails, Disgraced Israeli Ex-president Submits New Clemency Request

After being rejected last month for early release from a seven year sentence for rape, former president Moshe Katsav applies anew for a presidential pardon.

Former president Moshe Katsav leaves prison for a holiday break in 2015.
Nir Keidar

Former president Moshe Katsav, serving in seven year prison term since 2011 for rape, submitted a request for a pardon on Sunday, in addition to a previous celemency request filed in 2012 by the disgraced Israeli politician.

Spokespeople for President Reuven Rivlin said the request was being handled by the president's legal advisers. Last week the president said the case would be handled "like any other request."

A parole board last month rejected a request to shorten Katsav's sentence, saying he has "failed to show remorse or empathy toward that victims."

Israeli media have reported that Katsav was expected to file such a request citing a deterioration of his mental health, he has denied the claim.

Katsav, 70, "continues to claim his innocence despite the court's ruling in the case, and is busy of trying to prove his innocence... as if there was no due process," the board also said.

Rivlin had earlier rejected an approach by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked about granting a pardon to Katsav, saying the appeal was irrelevant at that moment.

Katsav's family submitted a pardon request in 2012 to former president Shimon Peres, who neither accepted nor rejected the appeal. Tzipi Livni, who was justice minister at the time, filed a response opposing such a step citing an opinion submitted by ministry professionals.