Parole Board to Announce Israel's Rapist Ex-president Fate on Thursday

Board met on Sunday to decide whether to cut Moshe Katsav's prison sentence by a third, allowing him to be released.

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Moshe Katsav outside his home before departing for Ma'asiyahu prison, Dec. 7, 2011.
Moshe Katsav outside his home before departing for Ma'asiyahu prison, Dec. 7, 2011.Credit: AFP

The Israel Prison Service parole board on Thursday will release its decision whether to commute the sentence of former President Moshe Katsav, who is serving seven years for rape and other offenses.

The board met in a special meeting on Sunday, despite a strike by court workers, to discuss Katsav's requet.

The new hearing was conducted after the Lod District Court ordered the parole board reconvene following a new opinion submitted by the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority, which now supports his release. Katsav is seeking to have his seven-year sentence reduced by a third for good behavior.

The state prosecution continues to oppose his release. The objection is based, inter alia, on the prosecution’s policy regarding the early release of sex offenders who are not in a rehabilitation program.

They compare Katsav’s case to that of Ataf Zahar, a former army colonel who was sentenced to six years for rape and other sexual offenses but was released after four years.  A petition against Zahar’s early release was accepted by the High Court of Justice in 2012.

In the ruling Justice Hanan Melcer wrote, “A serial sex offender who does not internalize the criminality and seriousness of his actions, who doesn’t understand the tragedy he inflicted on the victim, who doesn’t express remorse or think that he needs to change his ways is not the type of prisoner that should be released early, unless he has some weighty mitigating merits to his credit..

Prosecutors do not believe that there are such mitigating circumstances in Katsav’s case.

The parole board in April rejected Katsav's bid for early release and unanimously decided that he should complete his seven-year jail term because he never admitted to his offenses or expressed remorse for his actions. Until now, admission and accepting responsibility for the crimes were conditions for parole.

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