Katsav to Appeal Decision to Not Shorten His Sentence

Former president backtracks at last moment, instructs lawyers to ask to commute his seven-year rape conviction.

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

Former president Moshe Katsav was expected to file an appeal on Thursday at the Lod District Court, in an attempt to reverse last month’s decision by a prison parole committee that ruled against cutting his sentence by one third.

Among the reasons the committee gave was the fact that “the prisoner sees himself as a victim, occupied with blaming others for his situation, demonstrating aggressive behavior, focusing on himself, his needs and losses, as well as the price only he and his family are paying.”

At first Katsav was against filing an appeal, and the final date for doing so was four days ago. At the last moment, his attorneys Zion Amir and Yehoshua Reznik filed a request to extend the final date for submission of the appeal. This was granted, and before Thursday’s expiry date Katsav changed his mind, leading to the filing of the appeal.

In the request for an extension, Katsav’s lawyers wrote that “when the appeal was ready for submission the plaintiff approached his attorneys, telling them that he was worn out and that his spirit was broken. He was unwilling to go through the media frenzy that would accompany his petition and its discussion at this honorable court The attorneys disagreed with the plaintiff’s decision in the hope that they would succeed in convincing him to change his mind. For that, a few days are required.”

The former president is serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted of rape, indecent behavior and forcible indecent behavior, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice. Earlier this month Katsav also filed a request to be pardoned by President Reuven Rivlin.